New concept helper

Posted on March 7, 2023


One of ’em wasn’t new: they were given a number line with 3.4 and 3.5 on it, and ten hatchmarks between anda dot on one of ’em; they’re task: what is that number?

Nope, explaining Just Didn’t Work. ALEKS would have them put a zero at the end so it would be 3.40 and then … but … it didn’t stick.

BUT when I got out the illustrious meter stick and it became actual distances, not Things On A Screen… it made sense.

The “ordering decimals” was also going dismally (for exactly the same reason) and … I got out the meter stick again and not only did it make more sense, but when a really similar problem came up again later… they’d gone and “graduated” to where they could *see which one was bigger* — WITHOUT putting zeroes in, even, and without the meter stick.


Now the new one was a little weirder but I think part of “let’s not tax the working memory.” They were to use the calculator to turn a number w/ decimals into a mixed number and improper fraction, or maybe the other way around. The “keep the whole number part in the whole number part” was sorta kinda working… but when they’d figured out that 3/20 was .15 and were stalling out, I said “2 and 3/20 is the same as 2 + 3/20, right? Add 2 to your answer.” CLICK.

And 45 minutes later a similar problem came up (probably the other way around) and they get started and say “what did you say to do? Oh, add the…” … because I’d forgotten 😛 BUT I WON’T NOW 🙂 (esp. b/c I hvae another candidate for doing that.)

and yes, ALEKS is rewarding the students who Do THe Problem They Explain. The “explained” problem was 4 and 13/20 … well, the first one to do was 2 and 13/20. This is built in. Peer tutor was curious about why they’d do that — I asked if they didn’t appreciate when the first problem was a lot like the example and well, yes 🙂 but also it means more memory is spent on the process than the calculations in the process.

Yea, they should still hire ME to help with the visuals 😛

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