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Math Help - 10th grade Honors Math Student does not know basic math...

  1. #1
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    10th grade Honors Math Student does not know basic math...

    I have a 15 yr old 10th grade HONORS student that cannot do basic Math. She currently maintains an A average in her Algebra II Honors and Geometry Honors courses. We have recently begun asking simple questions, what is 10% of $250, if you aretraveling at 60 mph, how far can you travel in 1 hour, etc etc. She has no idea how to begin an answer.

    Although she has been an honors student throughout her education and maintained an A (sometimes B) average, she does poorly onstandardized testing, 50 percentile or below. We now feel like we understand why, she does not truly understand math concepts, even the most basic math. We suspect she is taught mostly "cheats" and "short cuts" and repeats patterns to solve problems and with theuse of a calculator no longer has a need to know basic multiplication.

    My question is, how do we begin at-home remediation? Is there a source that could help organize our journey from basic math to where she currently learning? Our only efforts are printing practice sheets of elementary percentage, fraction, multiplicationworksheets. This has proven difficult in finding enough info in one place and in tracking progress. Tackling this is extremely overwhelming and I am hoping for a real guide to how to do this correctly. Thank you for any information you can provide.
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  2. #2
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    Re: 10th grade Honors Math Student does not know basic math...

    since i don't know the student's actual proficiencies, nor where her particular weaknesses lie, my recommendation would be to go to https://www.khanacademy.org/exercisedashboard and take some of the exercises there. start at the top and have her work her way down.

    my guess, based on the scant information you have provided is:

    a lack of knowing how to manipulate fractions.
    a poor understanding of the distributive law.
    lack of seeing that percentages ARE ratios, and what they MEAN.

    unfortunately, with our given system of arithmetic (arabic numerals in a base 10 system of digits), a certain amount of memorization is mandatory. you simply cannot multiply 24 x 37 if you do not know what 4 x 7 is.

    some understanding of the "laws of arithmetic" is in order, too. does she know what "additive identity" and "multiplicative identity", or "associativity" and "commutativity" mean, and how to use them to solve problems symbolically (like with x's and stuff)? these rules aren't just "more meaningless stuff to learn" but are "labor-saving tools" if you know 4 x 7, you don't NEED to remember what 7 x 4 is, if you remember the "commutative law".

    frankly, i am surprised she does as well in her classes as she has been. one suspects the school system has been kinder to her than warranted, and it does not sound like she is anywhere near prepared for "hard courses" like analytic geometry or calculus (which is FAR tougher than calculating a 15% discount on a pair of $20 shoes).
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    Re: 10th grade Honors Math Student does not know basic math...

    Thank you for the reply, I will start on that site. The school systems (a private school education grades 1-8 and highly ranked small public for 9-10) has definitely been quicker to say "some kids just don't test well" than truly question the high classroom grades vs low standardized test scores. And with her honors ranking, she is on track to begin AP Calculus next school year (which I believe is early for her age). It is very difficult to tell a teenager they are not as brilliant as they have been made to believe, and to try to start from the beginning. Thanks again.
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    Re: 10th grade Honors Math Student does not know basic math...

    One should make an effort to involve the child in day today activities and introduce concepts of variable, constant , multiplication division etc., in an informal way. Then there are wonderful learning materials available in 3D stereo which can be of great help. Eureka.in is a wonderful product and will prove to be of great help. You can see by visiting their site: designmate(I) pvt ltd.: Designmate - 3D Education Software - Education Portal for K12 School Education - Ahmedabad, India
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  5. #5
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    Re: 10th grade Honors Math Student does not know basic math...

    If there's one word of advice, as a university student who was top in high school, please tell your child to MEMORIZE TRIGONOMETRIC FUNCTIONS. Please tell your child to memorize that. Calculus is a breeze if you just memorize those rules. My biggest mistake in high school hands down. Just trying not to making history repeat itself for another student. God bless.
    Last edited by Steelers72; January 30th 2013 at 10:03 PM.
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