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    Joined: Aug 2010
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    DD11 has actually always been a very good "mechanical" math student, learning calculations with ease, but sometimes struggling with word problems or thinking outside the box. She is doing 6th grade gifted math in 5th right now, so only a year ahead (this is what they all do in her program). I think her teacher is pretty good.

    Recently I'm seeing her applying formulas and concepts correctly but making a lot of mistakes in her "small stuff"--the calculations that have to be done to finish the problems. Some of it is stupid things like writing too small and misreading her own handwriting. But some of it is things like making 4 x 3 be 7 in a larger multiplication problem, forgetting she's working with a decimal in a division problem, missing a carried 1, etc. This is unlike her, since she's usually meticulous. Do we think this would be because she's being challenged by the conceptual math and having less time/brain space for the grunt work? What would explain a child suddenly having more problems with this? She isn't really sure what's happening, but the work has definitely gotten harder. This teacher grades hard, so she will miss 2/3 points on a problem where she did everything else right but made a calculation mistake like 4 x 3 is 7. (Maybe that's typical....I don't know.) Her grades are still okay, but it's frustrating. I'm wondering if it would help her to sit and do some drills in long, complex multiplication and division (I especially see dumb errors in difficult long division--she seems to crack up a little under pressure...but she did perfectly with this when it was taught as a stand-alone skill) or if that is the wrong thing. She's frustrated, too.

    We have never really suspected any LDs with this one (she is a straight A student in a program where this is rare), but there has been the possibility of mild inattentive ADHD. In general, though, attention (ironically) is the area where we don't see many problems. She shows the emotional symptoms, not really the attentional ones.

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    DS13 is experiencing the same change. He used to be meticulous to a fault (slowed him down and he wouldn't move on to another problem until he figured the first one out.)
    He advanced two grades in math and I think in an effort to keep up, he's making simple errors. So...what we've done is give him more practice and ask him to do out all of the steps on paper. When he'd do some or most of it in his head, there would be more room for mistakes. It's a matter of slowing him down, teaching him to go back and plug answers back in to see if they make sense.

    Good luck, Ultramarina. I think it's easier for these kinds of mistakes to happen because math suddenly has so many more steps.

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    I found this:

    http://blogs.psychcentral.com/alway...udent-make-these-careless-math-mistakes/

    I think we are definitely looking at the first issue (student is under pressure). We could consider this a good thing! DD has found math easy for 5.5 years of school, up till right about now! She is finally hitting some challenge. However, it's a little annoying, which leaves us with the issue of...what now?

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    My ds11 is taking 8th grade accelerated math in 6th grade - he can do the work easily, but his downfall is still his silly mistakes. He's still getting an A overall, somehow, so I'm not worried - in fact, I'm happy that he isn't getting 100% in everything, as that means there's always room for improvement smile

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    My DD(just turned 12) has a double grade skip and is taking Honors Algebra I that counts for high school credit. Because of the skips, we are seeing a few gaps. In addition, our DD has a super fast processing speed, and can do almost all the work in her head. However, that being said, she will make careless mistakes. The math problems are now more complex, and showing her work really slows her down (which she hates). So, in summary, what we are seeing is math gaps due to acceleration, problems getting more complex, and a speed demon still trying to race through everything. smile I'm still hoping this will improve with age!

    Good luck!

    Last edited by TX G Mom; 04/20/15 07:45 AM.
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    It's funny but I was thinking about this a couple of months back in a somewhat different context. I had come across a high school student advising a younger student who was complaining that but for his many silly mistakes he would have made honor roll on the AMC10. The advising student pointed out that many of his "silly mistakes" were likely due to his lack of true mastery of the mathematical concepts as well as lack of facility with solving complex problems. He pointed out that he himself rarely make silly mistakes on the AMC10 and AMC12, but that he used to make lots of them a couple of years back when he was merely familiar with these same concepts and relatively inexperienced in solving complex problems. Anyhow, I think he is correct. If it is taking too much of your brain power to understand and solve the problem, it is much easier to make one simple calculation error among the many required calculations.

    I don't think that it is computational practice that your DD needs unless she has not already mastered her math facts. Obviously, fast and accurate recall of math facts may help reduce computational errors; however, I think that she has to develop a deeper understanding of new math concepts as well as automate certain procedural steps. For example, the ability to glance at an answer and see that it doesn't make sense in the case of decimals or automate Divide-Multiply-Subtract-Bring Down (Daddy-Mommy-Sister-Brother) so she doesn't even have to consciously think it anymore.

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    Quote
    The advising student pointed out that many of his "silly mistakes" were likely due to his lack of true mastery of the mathematical concepts as well as lack of facility with solving complex problems. He pointed out that he himself rarely make silly mistakes on the AMC10 and AMC12, but that he used to make lots of them a couple of years back when he was merely familiar with these same concepts and relatively inexperienced in solving complex problems.

    I definitely am considering this possibility as well. The interesting thing is that DD is one of those kids who learned her "facts" instantly and effortlessly, and was always strong with computation. However, I do see that sometimes she doesn't see the forest for the trees and misses things that should have let her know her answers were wrong. I like the emphasis they put these days on "Is my answer sensible?" but DD often doesn't seem to see that stuff. It concerns me in that I sometimes feel she is a little "math robot" without as much deeper understanding. I still feel confused about her true math aptitude all the time--she has flashes of real strength but other times I see surprisingly weak skills.

    ETA: Like a poster above, she also will rely too much on doing things in her head and suffer for it. She dislikes "writing too much down." This is probably classic giftie.

    Last edited by ultramarina; 04/20/15 03:39 PM.
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    It's possible that this is simply a normal part of the developmental arc. Doing straightforward computations that all require the same technique on a worksheet is very different from having to apply two or more different techniques in a word problem or other problem. Sometimes the correct approach isn't obivous, and it can be difficult to pick the correct technique from a large-ish array of them.

    Practice and increasing confidence (which comes with practice) may be the key here.


    Last edited by Val; 04/20/15 04:04 PM.
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    Perhaps you can get her to work with Alcumus or ForTheWin on the artofproblemsolving.com website. It might help her with the deeper understanding of the math.

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    She is picking the correct techniques (the link I posted was not quite right in that regard) but just making various small errors. I think it really is probably just an increase in what is being required of her, and she's not quite caught up yet. She's far from failing...just not powering through as usual. As I said, this could be seen as very good, except that what's getting her isn't really the "big stuff." But in the end, it might be that it IS--because the effort that is taking her leaves her out of "power" for the rest of it.

    She is due to get some fantastic math teachers in middle school...very well-reviewed. I'm hoping they can wake up some deeper understanding and animate the robot a little. wink

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