free-spirited structure

I’ve noted that students recognize that ALEKS has a palette of problem types, and if you get one wrong, it simply gives you exactly the same words with different numbers. One of my students does the n-problem assignment…painstakingly going through the working example and placing her numbers in the spots they belong. […]

*October 30, 2013*

As I noted, much time was spent on the difference between object reference variables and primitive variables. It was noted that this was because people made costly errors if they did not understand this. We were not, however, informed of what those errors were (unlike instruction of the “it’s an exponent *DO NOT JUST […]

*October 30, 2013*

of the TWBOS (Twitter Blog-O-Sphere) and CSC 140 🙂 It is simply much more automatic for me to talk about looking at the information given and asking what you already know about it… and the cognitive process of figuring out how you’re going to figure out how to make an equation you can […]

*October 29, 2013*

Dear Decimal Institute Tweeps: AJ approaches my desk… … “I ain’t had this when I was growing up.” Questions: what’s half of 4/9? What’s half of 10/17/ What’s half of 1/5? I ask: “What does 4/9 mean?” He answers: “Well, you have this pizza, and it’s sliced into nine pieces.” […]

*October 22, 2013*

“So when it’s subtraction, you change the sign of the second one?” (subtracting fractions with polynomials and factors … so we’ve got something on this fraction minus …. x -4 on the other.) call me picky, but … I walked through and drew why actually, you’re multiplying *both* terms by that negative one.

*October 21, 2013*

THis problem sounded like the problem other students had been working on, which was a standard issue “rate together” question in which, to my discerning eye, the middle part wasn’t even necessary. However, that question had “t” and “t+2,” and then stated that in 5 hours, the fractional part of the job done was […]

*October 21, 2013*

I’m thinking of my “pet peeve procedural” lessons — where the tug of war between going through the meaning of what we’re doing and having a way of getting it done quickly sends the concepts plopping into the mud. THink about rounding. I had a student in Overwhelmed by ALEKS status who a: had no […]

*October 18, 2013*

“Change this to a fraction in lowest terms.” 0.12 Worked example: 0.076 Change it to a fraction 0.076 = 76/1000. Then it makes a big deal of reducing by focusing on the factors of 2 and 5. It’s all about the short cuts, nothing about the concepts ( why […]

*October 17, 2013*

We’re calf-deep in learning about writing classes in JAVA CSC 140. MOnday’s whole lecture was about them… yesterday’s whole “lecture” was a group effort to make one: to make a class which would add fractions. Living experience with “I do it, we do it, you do it,” as a student… with lots of […]

*October 15, 2013*

When I find an online product, with a plea for me to find out more, I usually ask. Then I have to curb my tongue, because the poor sales representative doesn’t necessarily deserve my wrath at the sorry state of mathematical education. This one wasn’t so bad 🙂 I had […]

October 31, 20130