# ZeroSum Ruler (home)

## Blogging on math education and other related things

### Are these searches for real? (Search Terms 6/19/2011)June 20, 2011

My blog keeps track of the search terms that have led people to me.  Some of them make sense.  Other ones?  I always wish that I knew the people who did these searches because I would like to help them with their math questions.  Below is a partial list of search terms from June 19, 2011 and explanations for the people who may have done the searching.  The 7th one down might be worth reading.  Enjoy!

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Search Terms Sunday June 19, 2011

“show he pictures of fractions”

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“show the fraction 16/5 on figures”

Ok, this is a search term I live for.  Somewhere out there is a confused little kid trying to finish his homework, or a mom trying to help her kid finish his homework, and I want to help.  It makes me sad that this kid did not get his answers in class.  So I will attempt to explain “16/5 with figures”!

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We have 1/5 because 1 of the 5 slices is green.  Now we need to take 16 of them…

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This is extremely messy.  We have so many empty slices (4 of every 5 slices are empty!).  So, let’s condense….-

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And if we remember that fractions are all about making wholes, we count that we have “three wholes and 1/5 left over” or 3 and 1/5.  Please email me if you need more background or help of any kind!

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“class”

Thanks!

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“zero sum ruler”

You’re in the right place!

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“show the fraction 16/5 by figures”

I’ve seen this one before…

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“the zero sum ruler”

No really, look around!

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“math students around the world 2010”

there are!

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“blogs on math education failure”

One More to Graduate. Make that 50.000001%

Math manipulatives lead to student failure

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“pi the whole number”

Pi is not a whole number.  It’s not even rational.  If your teacher sent you on a quest for information about the whole number pi, tell your teacher that’s her request is an irrational one.

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“kathleen fick math”

Who the fick is she??

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“math around the world, 1st grade”

They exist too!

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“how to use the zero sum rule[r]”

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Most of this post is completely unnecessary, but the one about fractions is completely necessary.  I gain [serious] blog-posting inspiration from your search terms, so am looking forward to seeing more tomorrow and being forced to write more about important math why’s!   Thank you!

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### Math manipulatives lead to student failureMay 19, 2011

During a 4th grade substituting assignment, the teacher left a set of word problems for the kids to do.  A bunch of these word problems involved division, and the students were directed to use their counting blocks.  As I walked around the room, I saw kids doing just about everything a kid will do with giant leggo-type blocks.  There were guns, there were swords, there were towers.  Some kids were using the blocks to work the word problems, but many of the students who wanted to use them for good were having trouble.  My role morphed from teaching math to teaching the kids how to use the counting blocks.  One word problem called for dividing 125 by a variety of numbers.  There is a large margin of error while counting 125 of anything, and with a string of problems that all rely on a 100% accurate count, it felt to me that the kids’ time could have been better spent.  When do manipulatives cross the line from helpful to hurtful?

A great article titled Teacher Learning and Mathematical Manipulatives: A Collective Case Study About Teacher Use in Elementary and Middle School Mathematics Lessons  by Laurel Puchner, Ann Taylor, Barbara O’Donnell and Kathleen Fick, outlines one of the many problems that can arise while using manipulatives in math.  This article is a worthwhile read, especially for those teachers wondering why manipulatives don’t seem to work as well as advertised.

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contact blog author Shana Donohue: shanadonohue@gmail.com