By Vanessa Gottschalk at December 19 2018 19:05:12
For many middle-school children, math is a real challenge. It is at this age that the concepts begin to get more abstract, and work goes beyond "concrete" ideas like adding and subtracting. It's no surprise that at this age, math can become something the student avoids, or begins to dislike.
In other words, they never memorized their multiplication tables! Many times I have seen a student do poorly due to a weakness in basic math facts they should have learned in third grade.
As a middle-school math teacher, I have seen many students who do understand abstract concepts, and even enjoy learning about things like Pi and the Pythagorean Theorem, but who appear to be unable to do so due to a weak grasp of math fundamentals.
Times are different these days. Kids are growing up in a world of microwaves, fast food chains, Nintendo, Wifi, iPads, along with a ton of other technical marvels.
There are several standard exercises which train students to convert percentages, decimals and fractions. Converting percentage to decimals for example is actually as simple as moving the decimal point two places to the left and losing the percent sign "%." Thus 89% is equal to 0.89. Expressed in fraction, that would be 89/100. When you drill kids to do this often enough, they learn to do conversion almost instinctively.
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