Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Already Learning Algebra!
We are using the Math-U-See curriculum and so far we are really pleased with the results. Having blocks to use to work out all your problems is really beneficial for hands on learners, which Gess definitely is. We are still in the Primer that we did not quite complete last year and we finally got to a section that introduces algebra! It calls the section "Solving for the Unknown." I was not really certain if I should try such a concept with Gess but since she seemed to get everything else, including place values, I figured I would give it a try.
Gess did struggle a little bit on day one as she was simply used to solving the problem and answering with the final result. Once we would find the "unknown" she still wanted to answer the actual problem, not tell you what went in the blank. However, by day two she was really getting it and now has really mastered the concept! Granted this is very simple algebraic equations using a question mark and blank instead of a letter, but still, you can see that she got it.
Here is how it works in the Math-U-See book.
They have the problem written such as _____ + 1 = 7 . Then it has an outline for the unknown and the other shape of the number blocks that come with the kit. As you can see, she has placed the blocks in the appropriate spot, now she has to search her other blocks to find out what number fits into the unknown (?) slot.
Once she finds the appropriate block (which I keep lined up in numerical order for her) she puts it in place and make sure it fits. She even says to herself "let's try this one" or "let's try six." Of course there are times she tries the wrong block and when it is too short or long she knows it is not the right answer. Once she gets it right, I then ask again, so what is the unknown? She affirms that it is six and then writes the 6 in the blank at the top of the original problem.
The blocks are all color coded with each number having a different color which also helps them gather the right one more quickly. They can then color in the blocks on the paper with the appropriate color but to me that is simply unnecessary work. We quit doing that awhile back, though at first it did help her learn what numbers were what colors.
Anyway, she really seemed to enjoy her algebra and I am impressed both with her skills and the Math-U-See curriculum which seems to make it all so easy!