Students

Solving Math Problems…
One Conversation at a Time.

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Math homework can be challenging – especially when you have a page of problems that you do not yet understand how to solve.

Learn to communicate… communicate to learn

Think of the Get it Guide tutorials as an approach you can use when learning new math problems. An approach that focuses on communication. Communication is an important part of how we learn. When we read aloud, think aloud and explain our understanding of a new concept, we reinforce our understanding. Get it Guide tutorials will help you practice and develop your communication skills for learning.

It’s as
Easy As…

1.

Look at the types of problems in your homework assignment (i.e. subtracting integers, multiplying rational numbers, solving 1-step equations).

2.

Look at the Math Topic Categories below. Inside each category are various tutorials; browse for the one that matches your math problem.

3.

Select the Slideshow Tutorial, a Worksheet or Video that matches the types of problems in your homework assignments.

How should I work through a Slideshow tutorial?

Your goal when working through a tutorial is trying to determine what you understand about a solution path, and more importantly… what you don’t understand.


Get it Guide
Tutorials use effective questions to deconstruct the solutions to math problems into simple more manageable steps.

What are effective questions? Think of effective questions as questions your teacher could be asking you during math class. Your teacher uses effective questions to help you focus on key solution steps and check your understanding.

As your teacher listens to you explain and respond to the question, they can determine what you understand and also where you might need some extra help.

As you work through a tutorial, instead of your teacher asking the questions… you’ll be asking the questions… of yourself!

Work through the tutorial by reading each effective question aloud.

Reading aloud has a memory boosting effect by sharpening our focus and increasing comprehension.

Each effective question is designed to get you thinking about one small bite-sized step of a larger solution path. Taking the time to understand and master each small step will help improve your confidence when solving new problems.

Having read aloud an effective question, it’s now time to respond… just like you would if your math teacher had asked you the same question in class.

BUT WAIT! Seriously… take some wait time! Research shows that waiting 3-5 seconds to respond to a question allows us to process and organize information.

Avoid the quick response… I don’t get it! You know more than you might think!

Respond out loud, think out loud, speak and be heard!

Thinking aloud will help you to clarify your ideas and strategies for solving.

Thinking aloud will help you identify what you do and do not understand.

Use hand gestures as you speak and think aloud. Research has shown that hand gestures when combined with speech can boost your ability to understand, apply and learn math.

Put your thoughts on paper. As you think out loud… drawing, sketching and modeling will help you organize and analyze your thinking.

Don’t worry about making an error or what your classmates might think… you’re probably working through the tutorial at home.

Do your words flow easy? I understand, I get it! Feel confident… this is good!

Can’t find the words? Not to worry, you’ve identified a solution step you may not understand yet… but will! This is also good. This is learning!

Now it’s time to compare your response, what you said, to the explanations found in the tutorial.

As you read through the explanations for an effective question, continue to read aloud and think aloud.

Take note of any mathematical words and strategies used at this step in the solution path.

Compare and reflect on your mathematical thinking by considering the following..

Does the explanation make sense to me?

How is the explanation similar/different to what I said?

Which explanation do I prefer? Why?

Try explaining your response to the question again. Do you feel more confident this time? Are there any mathematical words you could use in your explanation that you did not use before?

Keep in mind, each effective question and explanation are getting you to focus on one small step of a larger solution path. If you do not feel confident answering an effective question or understanding the explanation, you have identified a solution step that you need extra help with. This is good… this is learning!

Write down the effective question or solution step you’ll ask your math teach for help with. Keep your learning moving forward!

Once you begin to feel confident explaining/answering an effective question, it’s time to try articulating your understanding.

Articulation is the act or process of converting a thought or idea into something that is communicable to others.

Being able to articulate your understanding of a solution step will crystalize your knowledge and increase your confidence in applying that knowledge.

As you begin to feel more confident explaining and demonstrating your understanding of the various steps within a solution path, try taking your confidence up a level by teaching someone else what you know.

Research shows that teaching someone else what you have just learned is a great way to reinforce your knowledge and retain that knowledge. This idea is sometimes referred to as the protege effect.

Teaching someone else what you have just learned can also reveal any gaps you may still have in your understanding/knowledge that may prevent you from successfully solving the problem.

Start learning today…

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