Posted on February 25, 2013


I successfully figured out how to add “pause” adn “play” and going forward & backwards one frame at a time to my movie. Hmmm… will try to have something sharable by the end of the month, maybe even audio.

I was wishing for a pause button for the student I was working with this morning.   When confronted with 2x + 7 = 15, and I talked about what was happening to our poor friend X on the left side of the equals side (that this was a number that if you doubled it and then added seven, you would get to 15… with hand motions as if I had a number line) he was able to reason with “common sense” that the number was 4.  (It was also clear from his tone of voice that he was feeling that too often he had to discard common sense.)  “That’s so much easier than the way he told us to do it!”

WIth some of my students at New Community School, they wouldn’t have been able to guess how they got the answer, but he had talked through the “if you add seven” and the “what do you multiply by…” — but no, he hasn’t internalized that “if you want to know what to multiply by, you’re dividing to find the answer.”   Could be he doesn’t understand it and it’s a rote fact, but I rather suspect he *does* understand it, but simply doesn’t use the language that way… and if I could hit a pause button and practice some more, he coudl learn it.

I also really wished I could show images of the unknown number (or show it on the number line, or both) and all that stuff happening, and *show* getting it back to “just x,” and then translate that to the language…

He got the two-step stuff, sort of… but after two whole examples then it was “2x + 4 = 6x – 12” … he did understand that to get x by itself first it had to be in only one place.  I suggested taking the 2x away and he said, “but I want to know, why couldn’t I just take the 6x away!?”   … it was good to be able to say that once again, math agreed with his common sense and … as long as he took the same things away from both sides, it *would* work.   He said, “but I’ll do what you said…” and he did, and we worked through it, and I invoked the “common sense” often.   It was helpful.   WHen he could “see” what the operations were doing, he had the number sense to make sense of it.

With this exercise, the directions actually *say* to do the problem twice, taking away the x’s from left and right sides, respectively.   THat common sense stuff did not carry over well when numbers were negative.   I would love to have that pause — or more engaging exercises — so that he did have a better sense… it’s kinda almost there.

Wishing I had two clones who could learn the programming, fast…


Nasty weather in the forecast: freezing rain tonight, rain/snow tomorrow. If it’s kinda in between, my studly Gazelle will take me to work; else, the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District has me covered.  And hey, it could then and therefore be A Quiet Day…