Wow, I've had a long weekend of learning, studying, quizzing and teaching not to mention the frustration that goes along with it all. This weekend we babysat Dena's niece and nephew, Jack and Ruby. We were instructed that Ruby had Math homework to do and Jack had to study for his History Midterms. They are in Grades 5 and 6 respectively. I had no idea what we'd gotten ourselves into.
Saturday I spent 2 hours teaching Ruby the concepts of dividing or multiplying to get the missing denominator or numerator in a fraction. The concept is called Equivalent Fractions. The concept is that if you have 8/10 = n/5 where n is some number that you have to figure out. In this case, the answer is 4.
8/10 = 4/5 <-- These are equivalent fractions
Seems simple, eh, just wait until you have to explain it to a 10 year old. Thank god we only had to do the even numbered problems. After all that was over Ruby informed me that she had another section of homework, she proceeded to read the first question and said "I know how to do this" and shooed me off. I sighed in relief and left the room. She presented me with the homework later for me to check, it was all wrong. I hated to deliver that news as I knew she'd blow up. She ended up crying in the bedroom. Before she went to sleep I explained to her that sometimes we just have to practice things and try and try until we get things right and then I promised her we'd work on the wrong section tomorrow. This stopped the tears and she went to sleep.
Sunday we spent another 90 minutes on the concept of Greatest Common Factor (GCF) and Simplest Form. I have to admit, I had to look up GCF on the internet in order to understand how and why they are teaching it. Simplest Form is easy, I cannot remember what they called it in my day but it's basically just reducing a fraction to its lowest.
Example: 4/8 reduces to 1/4.
1/4 is it's simplest form.
Greatest Common Factor is doing a factor tree and finding the common factor between the numerator and the denominator and figuring out which is the greatest. You then use the GCF to divide and get the simplest form of the fraction. Example, 30/50 -- it's greatest common factor is 10. You divide the numerator and the denominator by 10 and you get 3/5. 3/5 is equivalent to 30/50 but it is in its simplest form as 3/5. These are examples are simple and I'm putting in that way so that the 30 somethings, 40 somethings, etc will understand what I'm talking about. It's been a loooonnnnnnggggg time since we learned this stuff.
We managed to struggle through all of this and during this process I learned how important the foundation of math is. This would have been so much easier for Ruby had she known her multiplication tables. Even 2 x anything was a challenge. When I asked her repeatedly what the common factors of 14 are, it was a 5 minute process to figure it out, even when she was asked over multiple days. If she had the basic foundation of the multiplication tables down then it would be a simple process to determine that the common factors of 14 are 2 and 7. Simple, 2 x 7 = 14.
Well, I have to go now as I have to quiz Jack on Chapters 1 through 3 in his history book for his midterm. First, I have to learn it myself because you can't really ask questions about something you know nothing about. What is culture change? Shit, I don't know, I mean I know, but I don't. Explain the local and global effects of deforestation. I have to make sure I don't miss anything or tell him the wrong thing as I would be doing him a disservice and teaching him wrong. The pressure!