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    #190567 - 05/09/14 07:08 AM Math- showing work
    cammom Offline

    Registered: 07/11/13
    Posts: 299
    Advice on how to get a DS7 to "show his work" in math? He's making some careless mistakes that could be completely avoided if he would even write out one or two vital pieces of information on word problems.

    His applied math scores were good (169 on WJIII achievement). I think he's more than capable of the work- just soooo impatient.

    We're doing some Singapore math word problems. Even in the lower grades Singapore word problems are tricky in the analysis. It's important to read carefully and write down important data.

    #190568 - 05/09/14 07:22 AM Re: Math- showing work [Re: cammom]
    Chana Offline

    Registered: 07/02/13
    Posts: 222
    With my daughter, I have her go back and write it all out and explain each step to make sure she gets the "why". I think it is just something that if they practice becomes habit.

    Edited by Chana (05/09/14 07:44 AM)

    #190575 - 05/09/14 08:03 AM Re: Math- showing work [Re: cammom]
    blackcat Offline

    Registered: 05/23/13
    Posts: 2154
    DS is the same age and has the same issue, but with him it's complicated by the fact that he has problems with handwriting and it's tedious for him. His teacher gives him graph paper with his assignments and staples graph paper to his homework, and then if he uses it compliments him on it. Sometimes he gets a Starburst taped to the assignment with a "WOW--good job using scratch paper." DS actually asked for graph paper one day when she forgot and that earned him a starburst as well. He also is given a lot of reminders. On the WJ achievement he scored very high but wrote absolutely nothing down except for the answers on the fluency section. So there were some careless errors lowering his score.

    #190578 - 05/09/14 08:18 AM Re: Math- showing work [Re: cammom]
    ColinsMum Offline

    Registered: 09/19/08
    Posts: 1898
    Loc: Scotland
    It's frustrating, isn't it? I think the answer is maturity, tbh... The best thing I found to do about it was to make sure there were consequences for making mistakes. ALEKS, despite its many faults, was good for this - DS learned that he could get a topic out of the way by getting 2 or 3 questions right, or he could make a careless error, the system wouldn't know it was only careless and not misunderstanding, and then he'd have to do 4 or 5... he got better!

    On the other side, DS10 is now far better at this (though he still has scope to improve) and at the same time, I'm awestruck by how much he can do in his head. He reasons through problems without writing anything down, in cases where I would have trouble doing so and would reach for paper reflexively (indeed where looking over his shoulder I do ;-). I think he's got something there that I'd like to have; there definitely is an upside to getting good at juggling lots of information in your head.

    ETA: I'm only answering the post as written. Of course, there's also, separately, the important skill of explaining what you did so that someone else can understand it - but I think that is best treated as something separate.

    Edited by ColinsMum (05/09/14 08:19 AM)
    Email: my username, followed by 2, at google's mail

    #190579 - 05/09/14 08:19 AM Re: Math- showing work [Re: cammom]
    cammom Offline

    Registered: 07/11/13
    Posts: 299
    It's been difficult because the problem is two-fold. He gets the correct answer without showing his work (and the wrong answer when I ask him to go back and set the problem up in writing). This typically happens with math calculation.

    *Or* he makes careless errors (typically word problems) when he tries to do them in his head.

    I think it's age related- I will try the graph paper and a sticker. He is still seven after all- I need to keep that in mind.

    School is another matter- he is doing Montessori math at school. It's pretty far below his ability, but it's active (so he enjoys it) and I have to say, his math calculations skills have become even stronger which is hard to fathom.

    #190583 - 05/09/14 08:22 AM Re: Math- showing work [Re: cammom]
    GHS Offline

    Registered: 09/11/11
    Posts: 116
    I had the same issue growing up. Correct answer but didn't show my work. 2 points for the right answer, but like minus 12 for not showing work. It was miserable. I made mistakes when I had to do so many useless steps. I never understood why I had to do the steps but was glad when I got to college and we didn't have to show as much.

    #190584 - 05/09/14 08:23 AM Re: Math- showing work [Re: cammom]
    Zen Scanner Offline

    Registered: 07/13/12
    Posts: 1478
    Loc: NC
    This has popped up a few times here, in case you want to search for even more ideas.

    One way is to give numbers of a scale that doing it in the head isn't pruductive.

    Another way to come at it is from a different persective; like through programming with a setup like Scratch where he can see the value (and have to) deconstruct the steps in a process. You can also present it as a teaching tool. He can do whatever method to get the answer himself; then deconstruct the problem (after he writes his first answer) into steps as would be needed to help another person do the problem who doesn't have his skills. This is the concept that really clicked for DS8; because as much pride as he takes in his math knowledge/abilities, he has as much pride in being able to share his knowledge.

    At scores in that range and the drive to work it in his head, I would hate to undermine the intrinsic motivation with extrinsic bribes.

    Even errors in his head are good because then he is likely working at his level of challenge.

    #190589 - 05/09/14 08:44 AM Re: Math- showing work [Re: cammom]
    mecreature Offline

    Registered: 03/14/11
    Posts: 358
    We take the same approach as Zen. If you think you know something try teaching it to someone else. My ds is required to keep an extensive note book in math class. Showing your work has become the easy work. My ds has done a lot of competition math this year. It seems odd but he almost always reaches for blank paper now. It is more to double check his answers.

    Its not easy but it does get better.

    Edited by mecreature (05/09/14 08:44 AM)

    #190870 - 05/12/14 05:30 AM Re: Math- showing work [Re: cammom]
    cammom Offline

    Registered: 07/11/13
    Posts: 299
    Thanks for all of the input. I like all of these ideas, and plan to give them a try!


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