Posted on August 23, 2012

… I’m pleased that I have been able to take the “Part to whole” idea from this article in NCSALL Focus on Basics and work it into tutoring.   I’ve got a couple of folks in the technical math class who are struggling a bit at figuring out what operation to do… they didn’t have a strategy at all (so, I’m guessing, they got this far with the “what did the problem before this need?”).   The math behind figuring out how many gallons of paint are needed for 20 hotel rooms with walls & ceiling of these dimensions is “cookbook arithmetic” — except more like cooking okra …   kinda slippery.

These folks are going to be coming in often, though, so I think I’ll be able to build.   We had to multiply to get the whole area of those walls and ceilings; had to add together to figure out how many feet in one whole hotel room… and to get to what 20 rooms would take… one room is just a part and we want to know the whole, so we have to multiply… but it takes 1 gallon of paint to paint 400 square feet, so… we’re not going to need as many gallons as we have square feet.  ONce we already know the whole thing… they’re asking for how many gallons, and each gallon is a part.   So… to get to the smaller part, we need to divide.

It doesn’t translate that well into blogwords… I do my best to be concrete and  brief (Hemingway-esque) with the math as opposed to longwinded and abstract (Tolstoy-esque?) … but it’s a challenge sometimes 😉 *And* I don’t want the new way of looking at things to be one more hurdle on the way to getting the work done.

The other thing I was excruciatingly pleased about was that I *could* replicate last semester’s near-magic… when I felt my patience stretching a bit thin, I “heard” the teacher from my animation class making a suggestion to a student in a calm, avuncular voice… and my tone of voice reflected that supportive, “how about trying this?” approach (as opposed to “Sigh… let me explain *again…* and please try to listen ’cause this is important!”   which is … less than helpful, usually… )   (I have no idea whether the man loses that tone of voice when *he* gets impatient — but that doesn’t matter.)

Next week I’ll figure out the “Most likely to be quiet enough to sneak away” time and reserve it for myself to go play with animations and the like.  Really.  I mean it this time.

Posted in: math