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    #13207 - 04/06/08 08:14 PM Question about algebra and radical acceleration
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3296
    Loc: California
    Hi all,

    My second-grader is pretty good at maths and we've been working through above-grade-level books for a while at a leisurely pace 2-3 evenings a week. He's partway through a 5th grade book right now after taking a break to do kangaroo maths problems for ~3 months.

    I looked through the grades 5-8 books and discovered that they don't really present a ton of novel material. They mostly seem to do the same stuff with bigger numbers. For example, long division is introduced in 4th grade and then 5th grade long division just uses bigger numbers. The books seem to repeat a lot of stuff, too. I presume most of you have noticed this (ahem).

    So, anyway, he bought an algebra book somewhere and was reading it on his own. I've given him 3 lessons and he seems to get the ideas. I've decided to mostly skip the grades 5-8 books because I think he can learn most of it through algebra.

    I really like the type of thinking that algebra requires and teaches, and think it might be a very good approach for him. He makes a lot of careless mistakes, and I'm hoping that the stepwise approach required in algebra might alleviate the problem somewhat (then again...).

    We'll hit any missed grades 5-8 topics independently.

    Have any of you taken this approach? If so, did it work for you?

    I have to go now. My cat is trying to eat the elastic thing hanging from my jacket. Bad cat!

    Val


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    #13211 - 04/07/08 04:24 AM Re: Question about algebra and radical acceleration [Re: Val]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    We haven't taken this approach, but that's a good sign, as we messed up big time. Our son actually completed 4th grade Math at one school and started 8th grade math an another school, but because he was doing it 'in school' and on the schools timetable, and at the expense of history class, it was a 3 month experiment that failed.

    OTOH, he is now in 7th grade doing the same '8th grade' pre-Algebra class and it's going well. I think that if we had do what you propose it would have been 'just fine.'

    I wish that there were Math books that cover 5-8 in a non repetitive way, and maybe there are. Your plan sounds flexible and totally reasonable. What have you got to lose? Nothing really.

    BTW - I really like the book "algebra to go" - a suggestion from Hoagiesgifted.org

    Smiles,
    Grinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #13220 - 04/07/08 06:51 AM Re: Question about algebra and radical acceleration [Re: Val]
    Texas Summer Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/01/06
    Posts: 216
    Loc: Texas
    Originally Posted By: Val
    I looked through the grades 5-8 books and discovered that they don't really present a ton of novel material. They mostly seem to do the same stuff with bigger numbers.


    You are absolutely right about this. When I was in grad school I worked as a long-term substitute for about a semester teaching 7th & 8th grade math. Each day I taught the same thing in my 7th grade classes as I did in my 8th grade classes with usually only an order magnitude difference in the numbers. I definitely don't recommend 6th-8th grade math for gifted students.

    There was a good discussion on this topic in the "EG/PG and not accelerated?" thread.

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    #13221 - 04/07/08 06:58 AM Re: Question about algebra and radical acceleration [Re: Grinity]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Val,

    It makes good sense to me.

    We're seeing the same problem of repetition even earlier and even with Singapore Math, which is supposed to be one of the good ones for being linear rather than a spiral curriculum. I've actually been considering moving on to pre-algebra or some more complex geometry with my DS6 while I wait for him to learn his times tables. That seems so bass-ackwards that I've been dithering over it for some time now. But for him, it seems to make sense.

    If you have the grades 5-8 books, you can always use them to supplement any holes that pop up as you're doing the algebra. As long as he doesn't get so confused that you have to un-teach him what he's learned wrong, I don't see the harm that could come. It seems to me that in the worst case, where it is too hard or leaves him with too many holes, you go back a grade or two. <shrug> No harm done.

    K-
    _________________________
    Kriston

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    #13222 - 04/07/08 07:00 AM Re: Question about algebra and radical acceleratio [Re: Texas Summer]
    kcab Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/02/07
    Posts: 1603
    Loc: Sparta, apparently
    I think the only thing taught in 5th-7th math besides long division is manipulation of fractions. At least, that's all I can see, or recall. I remember thinking that 7th grade math was for 1) learning tricks with numbers, and 2) hearing silly puns. DD10 is accelerated 1 year in math and there is not much new, and her friend who is +2 in math thinks she's doing the same stuff as the kids in the regular classroom.

    _________________________
    kcab

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    #13228 - 04/07/08 09:28 AM Re: Question about algebra and radical acceleratio [Re: kcab]
    Cathy A Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/26/07
    Posts: 1783
    Loc: West coast, USA
    I skipped 7th grade and then did Algebra I and II in one year. Didn't hurt me or prevent me from getting my PhD in math...

    To a mathy kid, it's not a problem to generalize arithmetic operations to larger numbers. They don't really need a whole year (or even a semester) to get it.

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    #13231 - 04/07/08 10:20 AM Re: Question about algebra and radical acceleration [Re: Kriston]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3296
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: Kriston
    Val,

    It makes good sense to me.

    We're seeing the same problem of repetition even earlier and even with Singapore Math, which is supposed to be one of the good ones for being linear rather than a spiral curriculum. I've actually been considering moving on to pre-algebra or some more complex geometry with my DS6 while I wait for him to learn his times tables. That seems so bass-ackwards that I've been dithering over it for some time now. But for him, it seems to make sense.

    If you have the grades 5-8 books, you can always use them to supplement any holes that pop up as you're doing the algebra. As long as he doesn't get so confused that you have to un-teach him what he's learned wrong, I don't see the harm that could come. It seems to me that in the worst case, where it is too hard or leaves him with too many holes, you go back a grade or two. <shrug> No harm done.

    K-

    HI Kriston,

    I'm definitely going to mix in some of the 5-8 stuff with the algebra. I think it will fill holes nicely and provide variety too.

    You mentioned that your son still needs to learn his times tables. I moved mine forward when he had about half of them memorized, figuring he would learn them by doing division. It's worked out pretty well and he knows most of them now. I reckon they're the kind of thing everyone learns eventually.

    We don't focus on moving stepwise with our kids. They seem to thrive on a mix of topics. Hence, I started long division before my eldest had learned his times tables, but would still get him to do problems like 123*46 now and then to help cement multiplication concepts. Last night the idea of "Why do things float" came up and I taught him about Density and introduced D=m/v and how smashing up cotton ball into a smaller volume can increase its density. We have a lot of random stuff like that. Some of it sticks, some of it doesn't.

    Val

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    #13232 - 04/07/08 10:25 AM Re: Question about algebra and radical acceleratio [Re: Cathy A]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3296
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: Cathy A
    I skipped 7th grade and then did Algebra I and II in one year. Didn't hurt me or prevent me from getting my PhD in math...

    To a mathy kid, it's not a problem to generalize arithmetic operations to larger numbers. They don't really need a whole year (or even a semester) to get it.


    Hi Cathy,

    It's good to hear someone else say that. When I introduced my son to long division with double-digit numbers, I said "See, it's just like regular long division, only you have to figure out how many times 25 goes into 162. Get it?" He got it and did 4/4 problems correctly without help from me.

    I understand that he's a bright kid, but still, I have to wonder if maybe the people who produce these books are perhaps setting their expectations a bit too low.

    Val

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    #13241 - 04/07/08 11:37 AM Re: Question about algebra and radical acceleratio [Re: Val]
    Cathy A Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/26/07
    Posts: 1783
    Loc: West coast, USA
    Val, having taught math at the college level, I can tell you that there are college students who can't do long division. In that sense the books don't have expectations that are too low, but I do wonder at their ineffectiveness...

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    #13248 - 04/07/08 11:54 AM Re: Question about algebra and radical acceleratio [Re: Val]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    I'm with you, Val. Is it our GT denial, or are they just aiming low? Maybe a bit of both?
    _________________________
    Kriston

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