# Problems I like

Posted on November 4, 2020

Even ALEKS can have a bit low-floor high-ceiling experience. “The ratio of blue to red marbles in a bag is 5 to 8” Now, if I remember right, previous renditions went right to “if there are 39 marbles in the bag, how many are blue?” and I’d teach them how to make a chart with blue, red and “all” for the ratio and then blue, red and all for the bag, and then to create the ratio from the chart.
Now, it’s “there are 5 blue and 8 red marbles in the bag… what’s the ratio of all the marbles to blue? Blue to red?” only worded more precisely.

So, we can make the chart and practice reading carefully and Putting The Right Numbers In… and we could also do a visual. (ALEKS I really wish you would do that. Tape Diagrams! ) It’s accessible even if you don’t have the working memory to do the first version 😉

I also like that they keep putting things like rounding into contexts. My folks who may not pass this course this time … will hopefully give it another whirl, and … the rounding will be a Known Entity.

(Sigh, yes, we need a better option than paying out hundreds of bucks for a course that’s not quite a good match. And we need the visuals to be easier to get. And…. )

Also helpful: when they do proportions, and they’re cross multiplying… it’s because they’re = that the units match and you cross multiply. (Later they learn conversions and it’s multiplying to *get* the new number, so the top and bottom need to divide/cancel out.)

Also helpful: that ALEKS has a fair number of problem types that by talking about them a bit … lends meaning to numbers. So money is starting to make sense as money. Big question: can we somehow work this into technology? I mean, if artificial intelligence can discern whether we’re COVID-19 infected from a *forced cough,* it should be able to emphasize the syllables so that things sort of make sense?

Time to ride home. A fake account is saying Nevada’s gone blue… let’s hope it’s true.