March 11th, 2014

dumbo octopus

math is hard, let's get a cookie

One of the things that is most challenging about helping my little kids with their math homework (beyond the age appropriate attention span issues) is that so much of what they are working on involves concepts that are so thoroughly embedded in my brain I can't explain them. Place value is just there. How skip counting relates to multiplying is just there. That reversibility of addition to subtraction and multiplication to division is just there.

But place values are HARD. Wrapping your mind around there being zeroes in the middle of numbers that aren't, say, 10, or 100, is a serious does not compute. Until it is the only thing that makes sense, and then how do you explain why it was hard?