A Young Teacher’s Guide To Homework In Mathematics In High School

Most of what appears below was the advice that I wrote for teachers who taught Mathematics in my department when I was its head. It appeared in my department’s handbook.

Homework was an accepted part of what we did as Mathematics teachers for all classes except those with special needs students.

How And When To Set Homework

• It should be set daily or after each lesson.

• Write the assigned homework on the board.

• Ensure the students write it in their school diaries at the end of the lesson. In junior classes, you may stand at the door checking the homework is written in their diary as they leave.

• Discuss how long the work should take and any necessary advice.

• Lastly, early in the school year, teach your students how to use their textbook to help them do their homework.

What Homework Should You Set?

For students to achieve their full potential in Mathematics at high school, homework must be done on a regular basis. Homework, based on current class work, is meant to be an extension of the lesson and is needed for the re-enforcement of concepts.

In high schools, homework in Mathematics may consist of:

• Written exercises set for practice of skills and concepts. These are based on classwork.

• Learning work, e.g. rules, vocabulary and theorems.

• Assessment tasks – these usually count towards Semester reports.

What About Students Who Don’t Do Their Homework?

Teachers should record in their diaries the names of defaulters. Parents must be advised when a pattern of missing homework becomes evident.

Teachers should develop a process for dealing with homework defaulters.

What If Students Can’t Do Their Homework?

As most homework is based on the work done in class that day, this is not usually a problem for most students. However, if a student has difficulty in beginning homework, teach these strategies:

• The student should look for a similar problem in the work done in class. This is usually all that is needed to jog the memory.

• The student should look for an example in the textbook prior to the exercise. Each different type is usually done in full with an explanation.

• If students still have difficulty, they should see their teacher the next day BEFORE CLASS and arrange a time for individual help. Most teachers are available for a “homework help” time at lunch time or before and after school. Your teacher will tell you when he/she is available.

What If A Student Tells His/Her Parents That They Never Have Homework?

Often, there are complaints from parents who tell us that their students never have homework. This is clearly not the case! If a student has no written homework, (which is unlikely) then we would suggest that the parents set one of the following to be done:

• Ask the student to write a summary of the rules for the current unit and to work an example of each type of problem. The textbook will be useful here. Look for chapter summaries.

• Look at the student’s exercise book and find an exercise that caused difficulty. Set this exercise to be done.

• In each textbook, there are chapters on basic skills. Students can do any of the exercises from this chapter.

• Often there are chapter reviews and practice tests. These can be done.

The Review Process

Homework should, wherever possible, be reviewed during the next lesson for the greatest impact on learning to occur. This learning may, in fact, be the basis of the next lesson. A full description of a review practice can be found in the Article “Reviewing Homework in High School Classes” to be found on this website.

Even though there is a continuing debate as to the merits of homework, the advice here will help the young Mathematics teacher deal with homework successfully.

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Tutors and Advice to High School Students

As a teacher of Mathematics and, later in my career, as a head of Mathematics department, I was often asked to recommend a tutor by parents or their students.

This often occurred after a student had been absent for some time from class or when a student needed a pass in Mathematics to matriculate into a particular course at university.

These are the points I made to students:

• Maths tutors can’t do the Maths for you, especially homework and assignments. The tutor is there to guide you to build your understanding of Mathematics*.

• They can help improve your confidence; explain areas that you find difficult but they can’t guarantee success. You have to do the work if you are to improve and succeed.

• They may also be able to discover where you began to have problems and work to fix that. Your parents must make that a priority for the tutor.

• You must note down areas in class where you are failing to understand the concept and ask the tutor to go over those areas. The tutor’s explanation will often provide a different approach to the teacher’s approach to the topic that will help you understand the concept/procedure.

• However, success only comes when you work hard in class and works hard with your maths tutor. One doesn’t replace the other.

• You must continue to engage with your teacher, asking questions and seeking advice when it is needed.

• You must continue to work on set homework diligently and do any work set by the tutor.

• It is also important that you accept the idea of tuition and like or respect your tutor. If you don’t like the tutor or can’t follow his/her explanations, tell your parents and seek a replacement.

• Your parents should seek a report from the tutor on progress made and on the efforts of their student, regularly.

Above all, you must be proactive in seeking to improve your understanding of the subject.

*Mathematics here can be replaced by any subject that requires improvement.

5 Tips to Buy Children’s Apps

With the festival season not very far away, many children are about to receive electronic gifts from their family and relatives. The good news is that apps have emerged as a promising tool to support literacy in general, and science, mathematics and life skills. The challenge for parents is to pick up the right app, more so, if the child has autism spectrum disorder or has special needs.

#1 The education and entertainment combo

Kids learn when they’re engaged. Educational apps like Just Match or Math on the Farm forge a perfect balance between learning and engagement. The Math on the Farm app teaches mathematics skills in a fun way. Here, the child has to answer multiple-choice type questions to score points. The stories in the app are themed on a farm that has flowers, vegetables, domestic animals, and cattle. Bright colors and interactive animation are the highlights of this app. It’s important that the child learns by playing and the Math on the Farm app does just that.

#2 Play with your child

Studies have shown that children learn better if parents join the fun. Take an active role and choose and app that’s likely to hold your kid’s attention. The Just Match app could be perfect for you. This fun educational app teaches matching skills, where you’ll be shown to game figures and an outline which matches only one of them. You’ve to drag and match the figure with the outline. A lively animation will hail your efforts every time you match correctly.

#3 Select appropriate games

Determine whether a fun educational app is correct for your child. Not all four-year old will be equal. So, different apps would appeal to different kids at different times. Ask yourself whether your child will be able to follow the app’s storyline. The touch screen system is a major advancement in the field of communication. Make sure the fun educational app has audio cues and not only words.

#4 Set limits and encourage other playing and learning forms

Well, setting the proper “media diet” is important for your child. It’s almost like balanced food. The more variety, the better it’s for your child. Consider the number of hours the child will spend in front of a screen. A possible rule could be not allowing TV until the homework is complete. The same should apply to a touch screen, unless it’s required in school, which of course is increasingly happening these days.

#5 Download from reliable, trusted sources

Look for established brands that specialize in fun educational apps. Are you comfortable with the app’s characters? Kids imitate popular media characters. Make sure the language and behavior in fun educational apps are appropriate for your kids. Avoid apps that have a lot of violence or are frightening to play. Such apps may have an adverse impact on the child’s mind. The Math on the Farm and Just Match app can fit the bill perfectly. These two apps are sensitive to children’s needs, and are among the best fun educational apps around.

Top Tips on Teaching Times Tables!

Learning times tables can seem daunting to a child, and you can feel daunted just thinking about having to teach your child their times tables! They tend to carry with them negative connotations, the belief being they are generally, boring, difficult and most of all frustrating, but this doesn’t have to be the case!

· Don’t try and bite off more than you can chew! Stick to one at a time and start with the easier ones to encourage progress and to prove to your child that it is achievable and they can do it!

· Rewarding your child’s progress learning might seem like a no brainer! But by making sure encouragement and rewards are constant as your child progresses will encourage them to not only continue, but will also encourage them in other things. They will come to realise if they try and apply themselves to something then it is achievable.

· Use fun games, as a way of learning so it is less boring and more likely your child will get the most out of the time they are learning. There are many games on revision websites, which could benefit your child and will educate them in a fun and effective way.

· Methods of Learning – Everyone learns differently, so its worth while finding out which way your child learns best rather than simply trying to enforce a method on them because if they are struggling this will only discourage them in their efforts and will have more setbacks than actual benefits.

· Learning times tables by route has been a favorite in schools in the past/ Children chanting their times tables over and over again may be affective for some but there are many other methods of learning them which you may not have considered.

· Discuss the patterns you can see so they your child understands how they are coming to the answer they do, rather than just saying what they think you want to hear.

Times tables are the basis on which children learn further math’s skills as they develop and go through school, so it is important they not only learn them off by heart, but also know how they are getting to the answers. This will give them the skills they need to work out other problems they are given in class. The sooner they grasp their times tables the sooner they will be able to work out harder and more complex solutions on their own.

Unfortunately sometimes students can miss out on completely grasping their times tables which can lead to problems in the future when they begin studying for important exams.

Easy and Practical Tips to Help Your Children With Their Math Homework

It doesn’t matter what level of school your child is currently enrolled in, it’s always a good idea to get them thinking about math. The reality is that if they want to go on to further education and a great career, a solid background in math is going to be absolutely crucial. You can help them get there by really taking the time to help them with their math homework. You don’t have to be a mathematical genius to pull this off, as they are likely to already have some sort of grasp of what they are doing in class. Here are a few tips that you can use to help tutor your child with their math homework:

  1. Teach the basics first – you have to be able to walk before you can run, so make sure that your child understands the basics of math, as this will help them when they progress to more complex subjects. Flash cards are a great way to achieve this goal.
  2. Neat numbers – mathematical equations can be confusing enough without making them impossible to read. Try to make sure that your child writes down numbers and equations neatly, as this often makes them a little easier to see and understand.
  3. Master before moving on – make sure that your child fully grasps the problem they are working on before moving on to the next math problem.
  4. Get interactive – having your face stuck in a text book can be more than a little dull, so try to make learning fun by using object around the house that can be used to help solve math problems.
  5. Ask for a little more – ask your child to answer a few extra questions when they are doing their homework assignments. Going that extra mile will help ensure that they really do understand the mathematical concepts they are being taught.
  6. Test them regularly – when you are out and about with your child, pose them some questions to see how quickly they answer. For example, if you are grocery shopping and see a price has been marked down, ask them to quickly tell you how much the difference is between the old price and the new.
  7. Make time to study – try to get in the habit of studying at the same time every day, making sure it is at a time when you have no other commitments and can commit all the time to your child.
  8. Maintain a steady pace – don’t try to rush your child ahead, even if you are sure they are ready to move to the next level. Maintain a steady pace and always take time to recap what they have already learned.
  9. Keep at it – if your child is having a particularly difficult time with a particular concept, stick with it until they finally get it.
  10. Encourage – always be sure to praise your child for a job well done. Math can be tough for a young mind, so encourage them every step of the way.

If you have tried to really get involved with your child’s math homework, but still find that they are struggling, it might be time to consider a math tutor. You might just be surprised at how affordable math tutoring is, and you may be even more surprised at the great results your child will be able to achieve.

Tips to Help Your Child Understand Trigonometry

Trigonometric concepts were first used by Greek and Indian astronomers. Its applications can be found all through geometric concepts. Trigonometry has an intricate relationship with infinite series, complex numbers, logarithms and calculus.

Knowledge of Trigonometry is useful in many fields like navigation, land survey, measuring heights and distances, oceanography and architecture. Having ground knowledge in the subject is good for the future academic and career prospects of students.

Trigonometry has basic functions like cosine, sine, tangent, cosecant, secant and cotangent. Learning all these six functions without fault is the way to do success in doing Trigonometry.

Making a child understand Trigonometry is not a difficult task if one follows certain tips as follows.

1. Helping the child understand triangles with life examples: There are many objects that contain right-angled triangles and non right ones in the world. Showing the child a church spire or dome and asking the child to understand what a triangle is the easiest way to make a child understand the fundamentals of Trigonometry.

2. Brushing up Algebra and Geometry skills: Before starting Trigonometry, students should be confident of their basic skills in Algebra and Geometry to cope with the first classes in the subject. A student has to concentrate on algebraic manipulation and geometric properties like circle, interior and exterior angles of polygon and types of triangles like equilateral, isosceles and scalene. Algebraic manipulation is a basic mathematical skill required for entering any branch of Math. A basic knowledge of Geometry is equally important for understanding the basics of Trigonometry.

3. A good knowledge of right-angled triangles: To understand Trigonometry better, a student should start with right-angled triangles and understand their three sides (hypotenuse and the two legs of the triangle). The essential aspect of it is that hypotenuse is the biggest side of the right triangle.

4. Knowing the basic ratios: Sine, cosine and tangent are the mantra of Trigonometry. These three functions are the base of Trigonometry. Making a child understand these ratios with perfect comprehension helps the child move on to difficult topics with ease. The sine of an angle is the ratio of the length of the side opposite to the length of the hypotenuse. The cosine of an angle is the ratio of the length of the side next to the length of hypotenuse. The tangent is the ratio of the sine of the angle to the cosine of the angle.

5. Understanding non right triangles: Knowing sine rules and cosine rules helps a student do non- right triangles without difficulty. As such, children learn other three ratios (cosecant, secant and cotangent). Next, they have to move on measure angles in radians and then solving Trigonometry equations and thus their understanding Trigonometry becomes complete and perfect.

Practice plays a major role in understanding Trigonometry functions. Rote memorization of formulas does not lead to success in learning Trigonometry. Basic understanding of right triangles and non right triangles in the context of life situations helps students do Trigonometry without hassle.

With the online interactive learning methods available for understanding Trigonometry, it is not a hard task to learn the subject. If it is all the more threatening, students could access Trigonometry online tutoring services and understand the subject without hassle.

3 Fundamental Tips To Overcome GED Math Test Anxiety

Most test-takers think that the GED math test, in itself, is difficult. But that mainly comes from their fear of the subject. If you think that the GED math test is daunting, then it will be. So the first step in conquering your GED math test anxiety is to fight your own demons.

The thing with the GED math test is that other than talent, you need hard work and determination to go beyond it. Math is basically not scary, but what gets in the way your passing the GED math test is your fear of the subject. Math anxiety happens when you’re so scared that it hampers your thought processes. You then feel hopeless, uncertain and you lose your self-confidence, possibly causing you to fail. It’s a battle of the mind, so to speak, that’s why you have to harness your mental powers to be able to beat GED math test anxiety. Here are 3 fundamental tips.

  • Believe that you have prepared well for the test. You ought to have backed it up with sufficient action, but you have to believe that your preparation for the math test is enough. You should have accorded ample effort for quality preparation for the test, such as by enrolling in a review center, other than studying an online course. A reliable review center will be able to provide you with GED math study guides and practice sheets that have helped many test takers as well.
  • Don’t wallow in self-pity. One problem that puts a dent on your confidence when taking math tests is that you might have gotten low scores in the subject for many years in school. This kind of fear is learned, and can be a predominant cause of anxiety. Whenever you are experiencing anxiety, you’re focusing more on your negative thoughts and your fears, consequently defeating your performance. Remember the saying that “If others can do it, so can you”. You can pass the math test even if your grades in math were bad. Unlearn your belief that you are dumb in math. As you take practice tests, some answers you did right and some you did wrong, right? Bolster your confidence by focusing on your correct answers. This will instill your belief in your success and make you feel good about your performance in math.
  • Affirm your positive thoughts. Practice positive affirmations- short verses that you mentally or verbally repeat to help change your thoughts or feelings about something This concept was introduced by neuroscientists in the 1970’s and since then has been popular. You can change the way you think or feel about math by mentally or verbally reciting positive affirmations, ultimately helping you combat test anxiety. Some of them are:

“I’m smart and I can solve math problems”.

“I believe that my brain has enough capability to help me find solutions to math problems.”

“Math is not a difficult subject, it just needs attention and focus”.

“I am prepared and therefore I will pass the GED math test”.

Many test-takers fail in the GED math test because they were overwhelmed by fear and anxiety. The key to not committing the same mistake is to control your fears. Preparation is the antidote that will pacify your anxiety. Do your best to study for the GED math exam and believe in yourself and your capability to hurdle this particular feat.

Easy Yet Effective Tips For Quick Mental Multiplication

Solving mathematical problems will be difficult if you do not know the basic math concepts along with how it must be done. Mathematics, in general, is difficult according to most people because it involves numbers. However, experts say that there are easy ways on how to solve such problems. In fact, experts have provided a couple of tips on how to take your mathematical skills to the next level.

Mental Multiplication Tips

Multiplying by powers of 5 – Multiplying a number by 5 seems to be the easiest and luckiest math problem to solve. If you are faced with a number multiplied with another number that is a power of 5, the trick is to recognize that 5 is equal to 10/2. This is indeed very helpful. For instance, you have to solve 38 x 5. What you have to do in order to get the answer in an instant is to multiply 38 by 10 and then dividing the product by 2. Thus, 38 x 10 = 380, and 380/2 is 180.

Squaring numbers that ends in 5 – Any time you need to square a 2-digit number ending in 5, the last digit of the answer will be 25. Also, the digits before that are given by multiplying the 1st digit of the number by the number which is greater. So if you are to solve 55^2, the last number will be 25. On the other hand, the previous digits are given by 5 x 6 (that’s the first digit multiplied by the number that is one greater). Hence, 55^2 is equal to 3,025.

Multiplying many 9s – There is indeed a trick if you are to multiply any number by 9, 99, 999, or any other number that is 1 less than a power of 10. If the mathematical problem is 48 x 9, you must recognize that 48 x 9 (10-1). The distributive property of multiplication suggests that this is similar to 48 x 10 – 48. Due to the fact that it is very easy to multiply by a power of 10, looking at the problem in this way will make is much easier to solve. Therefore, 48 x 10 – 48 = 480 – 48 = 480 – 40 – 8 = 432.

These are just some of the mathematical tricks you can implement so you get the product in an instant, without needing a paper and pen. You must be reminded though that it will take practice for you to be comfortable in using them. More information mentioned here.

5 Effective Tips To Teach Math For Slow Learners

Slow learners are not any different from the normal students in their intellectual abilities except that they are too distracted and the normal teaching methods do not help them comprehend what is taught. This is why you need special teaching methods for them. When appropriate method is adopted with adequate understanding and support from parents and teachers, these slow learners can turn out to be highly successful in all aspects of life.

There are several approaches and techniques that involve individual and group teaching based on the learning ability of a child, some of which are used by programs of learning centers for such children. These centers have specially trained teachers who use specialized software tools and teaching methodologies to make math and numbers more interesting. Here are five effective tips that professionals believe can help teach math for slow learners:

  1. Practical Lessons: Even normal students do not enjoy confined space for learning and it’s a higher challenge with slow learners. One of the best ways to get math into the child’s head is to make him do little additions, subtractions or multiplications that involve people, things, flowers, fruits, and other practical things that surround him during a walk or a drive.
  2. Teaching in Small Groups or Individually: Since students with slow learning ability require special attention, teaching them alone or in small groups would let the teacher focus on the specific inability of the student. Also, leaning in a group, with peers, would increase the social abilities of the child.
  3. Customized Plan: Students love classes filled with fun and creativity. That’s why several learning programs for slow learners have customized plans to polish the specific skills that these children lack. Hence, seeking professional help and having appropriate follow ups to help at home would be a great idea to teach mathematics to these children.
  4. Sound Therapy: This has remained one of the most successful methods, which involves using sounds and tools that stimulate auditory pathways and thereby aid listening and focus. Sound therapy also helps to enhance the auditory transmission process in brain by stimulating the muscles around the ear passage and helping to regain the original power or capability.
  5. Cognitive Training: The PACE or Processing and Cognitive Enhancement training program enhances the level of perception or cognition and helps the slow learners have increased attention span and focus, which is especially helpful in learning math. It also boosts the neurological connections and offers significant growth in the student.

How does the slow learner benefit

  • Adapting all the above methods and applying the right training program offers the following benefits:
  • Improved math computation skills
  • Better sequential processing and simultaneous processing
  • Sustained attention and working memory
  • Auditory processing and discrimination, which in turn boosts comprehension and more.

Complete support and appropriate methods of teaching can help any slow learner to be a math genius. So, be patient and use these tips to see how a slow learner starts loving and enjoying mathematics.

Helping Your Pre-Schooler With Math-Read Math With Your Child

We have already discussed the importance of developing a good math foundation for your preschoolers. The first, easiest, and best way to add math into your child's early life is to add math to the reading you already do with your child. It is never too early to begin reading to your child, and it is never too early to add math concepts to that reading.

It isn't necessary to run out and buy a bunch of preschool math books, although you might mention to friends and relatives that math related story books would be a good gift idea. You probably already have books with math concepts. For example, Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a wonderful story for introducing math concepts. It allows for early counting. It has size comparisons with too little, too big, and just right. It has one-to-one matching with baby bear and the little bed. Certainly you won't use this terminology, but as you read you can point out these concepts. Three Blind Mice , Three Little Pigs , Three Little Kittens , and Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed are other good examples you might already have.

Before spending lots of money on books, I suggest checking your local public library. You can check out books, read them with your child, and if the book seems to be one of those books your child wants you to read over and over, THEN you can buy it. Certainly use your library before buying anything you haven't read from online sources.

If you are interested in buying your own math related books, I have several suggestions. I am a big fan of Dr. Seuss books. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb introduces large numbers. Ten Apples Up On Top! is a good counting book. One fish two fish red fish blue fish is good for counting and colors. Horton Hears a Who! even introduces the concept of infinity. Many other Dr. Seuss books contain number concepts, colors, and shapes for reading with your child.

You may have read about or heard of Baby Einstein. If so, you need to know that having your young child watching the videos is a very bad idea ! Research is showing that there should be NO SCREEN TIME for children under two and very limited time for the older child. However, the Baby Einstein My First Book of Numbers is a wonderful example of what a number picture book should be.

The Sesame Street book ABC and 1 2 3 is also an excellent math related picture book.

As you look into buying math picture books, there are some things you need to consider. The book should be colorful, interesting to you, and it needs to make sense – not just rhyme. Don't assume that because it is about numbers that it is a good book. For example, I came across a book called One, Two, Three! by Sandra Boyton. I actually got confused as I read! One line said "… and when you want to explore, the number you need is FOUR." WHY? What does four have to do with exploring? Another page said "Seven is perfect for a play." Again, I questioned what that even meant. Any book you pick needs to be something you can talk about with your child. Choose books that you can read with enthusiasm. If a book doesn't make sense to you, don't buy it. I want to reiterate that it is not necessary to buy lots of number related books because you can find number concepts like counting and making comparisons in virtually any book.

As you read to your child, you should work on what is called "the language of space." This refers to words like front, back, top, bottom, over, under, in front of, behind, first, last, in, on, corner, edge, surface, and so on. These are all important concepts for your child to understand when they start school. They can't line up behind the blue line if they don't know what 'behind' means.

When you are reading to your child, be sure to:

  1. Hold your child in your lap.
  2. Convey to your child how much you enjoy your reading time together.
  3. Read everyday.
  4. Get involved with the story. Read with lots of enthusiasm and expression. Use different voices. Be active by pointing out things on the pages. Ask questions.
  5. Pay attention to your child's responses. Know when to put the book away. If your child loses interest, do something different.
  6. Be prepared to read the same book over and over and be enthusiastic each time.

Above all else, make reading FUN!