Well that's something I hear all the time so you

shouldn't feel too bad. The truth is, many, many

people, at one time or another, have felt the same way,

and have experienced something which has made them

feel bad about math and numbers in general. So the

common complaint, "I was never good at math," or "I

hate numbers and math," is as common as the common

cold and sometimes just as annoying. Interestingly,

what I have discovered from working with students

through the years is that this feeling of inadequacy

often stems from some negative experiences with the

subject. This might very well be the case with you.

Perhaps you had a hard time in one of your math

classes and felt very frustrated by it. Perhaps you

struggled year after year because you could'nt

understand the material being taught, or because the

pace was too fast. Perhaps you didn't understand

because the subject matter was presented in a way that

did not get across to you. Sound familiar?

My concern with the above scenario is that,

uncorrected, this problem usually leads to feelings of

frustration and inadequacy toward math in general. A

likely--yet very undesirable--end result would be the

drawing of incorrect conclusions about yourself and

your abilities. Do these sound familiar?: "I'm just not

good at math and never will be," or "I'm just not

smart enough to do math," or more general and even

more crippling, "I'm just not that smart."

I cannot count how many times I have

heard such statements, the like of which only

serve to drain the energy and

stunt the educational gains of even the best of us.

Unfortunately, these statements crystallize into

attitudes and beliefs which become difficult to shake

off. However mistaken these beliefs might be, their

burdensome influence remains for a very long time--

sometimes even for life. The end result--math

illiteracy.

This is very unfortunate--even tragic--since the

ability to work with numbers and do math are skills

that have countless benefits. After all, no one should

be doomed to mathematical illiteracy, especially when

the alternative is so near within reach. Let's consider

the importance of basic math skills in everyday life.

For one, you couldn't count without math, pay bills

and then balance a checkbook, understand basic

financial matters, such as by how much money will

grow at different interest rates, or even figure how

much change you should get after a simple purchase

transaction. What a sorry state we would all be in if

we couldn't do these simple things! Now think for a

second. Suppose you could add, subtract, multiply and

divide numbers so that routine calculations were no

longer a bother. Numbers are now no longer your

enemies but your friends. A very likely consequence

would then be that the word math no longer triggers a

bunch of negative impressions but rather positive ones.

You now consider yourself good at a very tough

subject and therefore consider yourself a "cut ... ]]>
http://dzungla.org/news/x2x22334t2-Arithmetic-Magic-The-Introduction.xhtml/

Thus as educator and mathematician, I always enjoy a big smile when I can demonstrate the practicality of knowing even rudimentary mathematics. A good and solid understanding of basic geometry, arithmetic, and algebra can go a long way toward understanding many fundamental laws of nature and even permitting a high degree of general problem solving abilities. People are always amazed when I explain to them how I can tell time at the beach using the sun, or use probability to make general predictions, or to do seemingly amazing human calculator multiplications in my head. Yet all these feats are quite achievable even for the ordinary person.

Having said this, I can move toward the interesting sounding title of this article and explain how basic mathematics can be used for even such an odd sounding thing as finding a parking spot in a busy mall. We all know how frustrating this can be particularly around the holiday shopping season. Now man is a clever animal and if you ask people their method many will quickly volunteer that they have a great system. These systems range from stalking people who leave the mall to circling like hungry sharks waiting to feed on the next open spot.

Personally, I had always had a problem with the methods mentioned above and for this reason, I suppose, one day I thought about the problem and asked myself whether mathematics could solve this problem--or at least come up with a more practical method. Being a mall rat largely because of my wife's intense love of such locale, I had many opportunities to drop her off in front and then begin the process of "search and destroy," or more simply put, to wait for parking spots. Being a fan of the two mathematical disciplines of probability and statistics, I decided to see whether using some basic facts within these two areas could help me solve the problem. Thus sitting by the mall waiting for an open spot (mind you the times we would go to the mall were usually on Saturdays when choice spots were rare, and I would always want to park in a particular area near Macy's where spots were even more limited because of the smaller parking area), ... ]]>
http://dzungla.org/news/13434344-Finding-A-Mall-Parking-Spot-Using-Mathematics-Part-I.xhtml/

The following are the most famous of the impossible constructions with a ruler and a compass:

Trisecting an angle

Doubling the volume of a cube

Constructing a square equal to the area of a circle

A Proof:

What is a proof? For those of you who are wondering about that, here is the definition for a proof:

'A proof is that which has convinced and now convinces the intelligent reader' Who is an intelligent reader? In this context, those people who are known to be mathematicians by the society are the intelligent people.

Also a major requirement for a proof is that,a proof should be in complete harmony with another proven fact.

The 'Impossibilty of a Problem':

One often confuses the impossibility of a problem with an unsolved problem. A few problems are unsolved, that is, they have not been solved as of yet, whereas some other problems are insoluble,that is, they cannot be solved.The problem is proved to be impossible to solve. There is no question of anyone coming up with a construction for trisecting an angle because it has been proved mathematically that no one can trisect an angle.Whereas if someone were to claim that he/she (no discrimination) has found a proof of the Riemann's hypothesis or the Goldbach Conjecture ( famous problems that have not yet been solved but have not been proved to be impossible either), mathematicians shall look into the claim. However for those of you who are itching for a claim to fame by solving one of the unsolved problems, let me remind you the path to success is not a bed of roses.

The coursework element of GCSE Maths consists of two extended tasks (investigations), each worth 10% of the final mark. Altogether coursework is worth twenty percent of the Maths GCSE. One task is an Algebraic Investigation, and one task is a Statistical Data Handling Project. Each piece is done under the teacher's supervision in the classroom, not under exam conditions, so students are allowed to discuss their ideas with each other. Extra time is usually allowed at home, and the total duration is usually about two weeks. The teacher is allowed to support and direct the students, but the students will need to work more independently and be able to think mathematically for themselves, finding their own mathematical conclusions.

**(2) What does the Maths Teacher do?**

The maths teacher has to work differently during GCSE coursework tasks, as it is not possible just to tell the pupils what to do, or to give undue assistance. Some students find this change hard, as it means that they have to be less dependent upon their teacher for advice. The teacher can help the students (usually by asking questions) so the students can then come to their own conclusions about the work. The teacher can help the students stay on track but if the teacher has to give assistance and has to tell a student what to do, then the student is not eligible for those marks. The teacher can note any relevant verbal contribution if it has not been written down in the final written work. Usually the students' own class teacher marks the coursework, using the exam board guidelines, and the marks are sent off to the exam boards in April each year.

**(3) Why is GCSE Maths Coursework different from normal lessons?**

GCSE Maths coursework is different from normal lessons as students have to work on a larger extended task, rather than answer lots of smaller questions from a text book. They also have to come up with their own questions about the task, which they then try and answer. The students need to work consistently over a longer period and also need to write down and explain what they are doing, and what they have found, using sentences (which pupils don't usually do in maths lessons).

**(4) What are the most common problems faced by students?**

Some students find adjusting to these more open-ended tasks quite difficult. Usually work in GCSE maths lessons is broken up into many smaller questions, whereas in maths coursework they have to break the task into smaller parts for themselves. (Teachers can help direct students, and help them with short term goals). Students often find it hard to think for themselves ... ]]>
http://dzungla.org/news/v23343a4t2-What-Is-GCSE-Mathematics-Coursework-Information-For-Parents-And-Students.xhtml/

The Quick-Add method gives students a viable alternative to performing quick sums without the aid of calculators or pencil and paper. This method is based on the idea of "complements." The word "complement" means "to complete," and this is exactly what these numbers do. A "10-Complement" completes the 10; a "100-Complement" completes the 100, and so on. Why this idea is so useful is that it aligns itself with the simplicity inherent in the metric system, in which all units and measurements are based on the number 10 and its multiples. To begin to understand this idea, let me present the following scenario: If I said to a child, "What is 8 + 9?", and wanted a fast answer, the child would probably start and stumble, resorting to counting on his fingers or trying feverishly to reckon the sum. Granted, there are those children who are quick with this type of thing and, rather fast, can come up with the answer of 17. My focus, however, is not on these children. The healthy have no need of a doctor. My focus is on the children who struggle with basic arithmetic operations and experience tremendous frustration: which when germinated, leads to negative attitudes toward mathematics and ultimately crystallizes into self-doubt, fear, and dread of this most wonderful subject. The consequences are truly disastrous as many students I have worked with realize--after I healed them of their mathematical ills--that they were actually good ... ]]>
http://dzungla.org/news/u233x294t2-Teach-Your-Kids-Arithmetic-The-Quick-Add-Part-I.xhtml/

- setting up the calculator in the right mode

- not being able to find the calculator manual!

- remembering to change calculator modes

- rounding and inaccurate answers

**Why Use a Scientific Calculator?**

Scientific calculators all use the same order for carrying out mathematical operations. This order is not necessarily the same as just reading a calculation from left to right. The rules for carrying out mathematical calculations specify the priority and so the order in which a calculation should be done - scientific calculators follow the same order. This order is sometimes abbreviated by terms such as BODMAS and BIDMAS to help students remember the order of doing calculations.

**1st. Brackets** (all calculations within a bracket are done first)

**2nd. Operations** (eg squaring, cubing, square rooting, sin, cos, tan )

**3rd. Division and Multiplication**

**4th. Addition and Subtraction**

Being aware of this order is necessary in order to use a scientific calculator properly. This order should always be used in all mathematical calculations whether using a calculator or not.

**Scientific Calculator Check**

There are two types of scientific calculator, the most recent type being algebraic scientific calculators. Algebraic scientific calculators allow users to type in calculations in the order in which they have been written down. Older scientific calculators need users to press the mathematical operation key after they have entered the number.

For example to find the square root of nine (with an answer of three) press: [button]

Algebraic scientific calculator: [SQUARE ROOT] [9] [=]

Non algebraic scientific calculator: [9] [SQUARE ROOT] [=]

Both these types of scientific calculator are fine for exams, but make sure you know how to use your own type.

If you are not sure whether you have a scientific calculator or not, type in:

[4] [+] [3] [x] [2] [=]

If you get an answer of 14, then you have a left to right non-scientific calculator.

If you get an answer of 10, then you have a scientific calculator as it has worked out the multiplication part first.

**Lost Calculator Manuals**

Calculator manuals tend to get lost very easily or you can never find them as an exam is approaching. A frequent request is what can you do if you have lost your calculator's manual? If it is a relatively new model then you can download a copy from the manufacturer's web site. If it is an ... ]]>
http://dzungla.org/news/x2z22384y2-Using-A-Scientific-Calculator-In-Mathematics-Exams.xhtml/

Whenever we are confronted by an addition problem, we are going to convert it to a "quick-add." For example, take the addition of 7 + 5. This is 12, but some children might not get this straight away. Ask them what 10 + 2 is, however, and the answer is for the most part immediate. Nobody struggles with the latter addition problem because it is in "quick-add format." Now to get the problem into this format, we simply do the "Quick-Add Conversion," and this is when the idea of complements comes in to play. We always work with the bigger number, which in this example is 7. We take the 10-complement of 7, which is 3. We reduce the smaller number, 5, by 3 to become 2. Now we have the converted example: 7 goes to 10, and using its complement 3 to reduce 5, 5 goes to 2. We now have the "quick-add" 10 + 2 = 12. Let's look at another example: 8 + 9. In this case, the 10-complement of 9 is 1; thus 8 is reduced by 1 to 7, and we have the "quick-add" 10 + 7 = 17. A snap! If both numbers are the same, no problem. Look at 6 + ... ]]>
http://dzungla.org/news/u2434364v2-Teach-Your-Kids-Arithmetic-The-Quick-Add-Part-II.xhtml/

If you want to be successful as a teacher--any teacher--you have to refrain from playing the fear trump card. Unfortunately many math teachers do this, thinking that this will set the tone for the year and keep the students in line. This is not the way to go. Remember. You are on difficult turf. Most students despise math because it frustrates the heck out of them. They feel hopeless, lost, and confused most of the time when trying to work through this strange domain of variables, number systems, and word problems. Instilling fear in them will only make the problem worse.

Rather, you need to try alternative learning strategies. Now I know you've had this concept rammed down your throats a hundred or more times and I don't mean to be like another administrator who forgot what it was like to be in the classroom. The truth is you can only lead a horse to water--you know the rest. So what kind of alternative strategies do you try? After all, you're dealing with teenagers whose racing hormones keep their thoughts grounded on things other than math, English, and social studies.

What about integrating two different subjects, the so called "cross learning" approach. What about integrating math and English through the use of poetry. Now this definitely sounds interesting. What if you could open a lesson by reading a poem on mathematics which teaches a lesson on the subject, or gives some good food for thought? By taking this approach, you're getting away from the textbook for at least a day and integrating a completely new approach to learning this dreaded subject. Moreover, you're getting the kids to learn something about reading poetry as well. Could you see the startled expressions on their English teachers' faces when they find out what's going on in your math classroom? Now this is an idea that you can take to the bank--the learning bank.

See more at Math Poems

... ]]>Perhaps while I sit here clacking at my keyboard, the chill running through my body forces me to hark back to the bright halcyon July and August days when I frolicked in the sand and listened attentively to the rhythmic crashing of the waves--and of course, contemplated the hour of the day by observing the position of the sun in the sky. Now some might be thinking, "Wait. Navigators and sailors have used the stars and celestial bodies for time immemorial to do such things as tell time, pinpoint their position on the globe, tell their course of direction, and to make sundry other determinations." I know this.

Yet once again, while spending some time at the beach one day, I wanted to see whether I could, without any prior research or study in the field, nor prior knowledge of such, somehow devise a method of telling the time using the sun. Now why would any sane person wearing a watch on his wrist do this? Well for one, to see what it might have felt like before we had such conveniences as the wrist watch, and for two, to show that with a little thought and some basic knowledge, man is quite a formidable thinker! Passing this knowledge and experience on to you will serve the purpose of aligning your thoughts more with nature and to show you that you can do extraordinary things--if only--you start thinking a little.

So there I am on the beach looking at the cloudless azure sky and feeling somewhat bored, perhaps because the simplicity of beach life was just too overwhelming that particular day. I mean with all that sand between your toes, the constant beach chair repositioning to afford a better tan, the incessant requests from family and friends for water (having power of attorney over the beach cooler, I was de facto water boy), beach life can be somewhat enervating. Not to complain, mind you. Just that sometimes beach time makes you realize that there are petty annoyances no matter how good life can be. Hey, but what about the time thing?

Oh, yes ... ]]>
http://dzungla.org/news/u2y20334v2-Fun-In-The-Sun-Using-Mathematics-To-Tell-Time-On-The-Beach.xhtml/

"One reason why students fare badly in Maths is that they are learning it mechanically, often not understanding what they are learning and they are unable to apply it to real-life situation," says Vijay Kulkarni, the leader of the First Annual Status of Education Report (**ASER**) released recently by the well known Bombay-based non-governmental organization, *Pratham*.

Explaining the dismal scenario that the report portrays, especially about mathematics - forty two per cent of children between seven to ten years cannot subtract - Kulkarni says that the children are turned off, because the straitjacketed conventional teaching in classrooms has squeezed out the joy of learning, turning the schools into robotic factories.

Outdated teaching methods and an outdated curriculum - far removed from the students' everyday experiences - contribute nothing to a student's appreciation of the subject. Intelligence is often measured by the marks he gets in mathematics and his self confidence is eroded when he gets drubbed as dumb for scoring less in it.

Yet, taught the right way, learning mathematics can be easy, fun and can fill one with a sense of awe, with its inherently beautiful harmony and order. Both parents and teachers should convey the message that learning mathematics can be fun. Their expressions of interest, sense of wonder and enjoyment are critical to the child's interest in the subject.

"Parents are the first mentors for a child. Even before the children can be formally admitted in pre-school kindergartens, they can start playing with numbers," suggests Dr.MJ Thomas, a child psychologist in the city. Children are playful by nature and have irrepressible curiosity to explore the world through experimenting with the objects around them: see, touch, hear, taste, smell and arrange the objects, put things together or take them apart. Through such experience the children understand their world intuitively.

Dr. Thomas' suggestions: collect beads of various colours and tell the kids to alternately string two beads of, say, two colours. Tell them to bring red and green balls and make two piles of equal number of balls. Another game could be to arrange playing cards in rows of three or four. These activities can enforce quantitative thinking and help make numbers our friend.

"While the other sciences have some amount of hands on activity included in the syllabus and the idea of a physics, chemistry or biology lab is common, maths is still taught only by ... ]]>
http://dzungla.org/news/033343b4q2-The-Joy-Of-Learning-Mathematics.xhtml/

As I mentioned in the first article, I was never content to get my degrees in mathematics and then not do anything with them other than to leverage job opportunities. I wanted to know that this newly found power that I studied feverishly to obtain could actually inure to my personal benefit: that I would be able to be an effective problem solver, and not just for those highly technical problems but also for more mundane ones such as the case at hand. Consequently, I am constantly probing, thinking, and searching for ways of solving everyday problems, or using mathematics to help optimize or streamline an otherwise mundane task. This is exactly how I stumbled upon the solution to the Mall Parking Spot Problem.

Essentially the solution to this question arises from two complementary mathematical disciplines: Probability and Statistics. Generally, one refers to these branches of mathematics as complementary because they are closely related and one needs to study and understand probability theory before one can endeavor to tackle statistical theory. These two disciplines aid in the solution to this problem.

Now I am going to give you the method (with some reasoning--fear not, as I will not go into laborious mathematical theory) on how to go about finding a parking spot. Try this out and I am sure you will be amazed (Just remember to drop me a line about how cool this is). Okay, to the method. Understand that we are talking about finding a spot during peak hours when parking is hard to come by--obviously there would be no need for a method under different circumstances. This is especially true during the Christmas season (which actually is the time of the writing of this article--how apropos).

Ready to try this? Let's go. Next time you go to the mall, pick an area to wait that permits you to see a total of at least twenty cars in front of you on either side. The reason for the number twenty will be explained later. Now take three hours (180 minutes) and divide ... ]]>
http://dzungla.org/news/u2w23394z2-Finding-A-Mall-Parking-Spot-Using-Mathematics-Part-II.xhtml/

Yet in all reality, these bugbears we call fractions are not nearly so demonic as they are made out to be. And when we consider how important they are in the study of all areas of mathematics, we best give them their proper place--and respect. At the early ages, children stumble over these entities because they are inherently difficult to reckon with. Unlike whole numbers, which consist of one part, fractions (or rationals, as they are called) consist of two: the numerator, or top part, and the denominator, or bottom part. Pretty much everyone knows this. And these monsters are quite friendly when we perform the arithmetic operations of multiplication or division (which will not be discussed here; you'll just have to wait until I write that article). However, add or subtract--now we're talking serious business. Students would cringe at the thought of adding two fractions with unusually different denominators, not to mention three fractions with different bottoms. I guess "bottoms up" would not apply here.

At any rate, truth be told: adding fractions is not difficult. We just need to get on a common playing field and by that I refer to the common denominator. Specifically, we want the lowest common denominator, or LCD, for short. Once we have the LCD, we do a quick conversion on the numerators and then add them together. Case closed. Yet getting to this LCD is what gives students the most trouble. Now I could go into the method of getting the LCD by first decomposing each bottom into primes--a process known as decomposition into primes--and then obtaining the LCD by taking out the all the distinct primes as well as the common primes to the highest power--ugh, I'm already getting confused by all this mumbo jumbo. Hey wait, isn't there an easier way?

Yes. Thankfully, there is. Since most students learn to get a common denominator (not necessarily the LCD, though) by multiplying the two bottoms together, we will base our method on that procedure. The only problem with this method is that they might need to multiply two large numbers together. By large, I mean perhaps 12 x 18 or ... ]]>
http://dzungla.org/news/x2x24334s2-Teach-Your-Kids-Arithmetic-Fractions-Those-Devils-.xhtml/

Let's look at what a percent really means. Percent from the Latin literally means "per hundred." A percent is one part out of a hundred. Ten percent literally means "10 parts out of the hundred," or "10 parts per hundred." When we take a percent of a number, we are actually taking a portion of that whole. In other words, when we take 10% of a quantity, we are trying to calculate a portion of that quantity equal to 10 parts out of one hundred. If you read my article "Fractions, Percents, and Decimals," then you know that these three mathematical entities are one and the same thing: that is a percent is a decimal is a fraction. Consequently 10% is nothing more than 1/10 of the whole.

Now as a decimal, 10% is 0.1. To take 10% of any number we need only shift the decimal point of that number one place to the left. So 10% of 50 is equal to 5. (In a whole number the decimal point is not written but can be found immediately to the right of the last digit. Thus in 50, the invisible decimal point is after the 0, that is 50 can be written as 50. ) Based on this principle, and this principle alone, we have a way of calculating percents very easily. How you say? Let's get into this.

We use the following facts: 10% is 1/10 of a number; 1% is 1/100 of a number (a two decimal shift to the left) or 1/10 of 10%; and 5% is half of 10%. To get a percent of a number we use simple combinations of these facts. Watch.

Suppose you want to calculate 20% of 40. Now 20% is twice 10%. So get 10% and multiply by two: thus 10% of 40 is 4 and 20% is 8. Abracadabra. You want 21% of 40. No sweat. 20% is 8 (just done) and 1% is 1/10 of 10% of 40 which is 0.4 (a two decimal shift of the decimal in ... ]]>
http://dzungla.org/news/y2w263c4z2-Teach-Your-Kids-Arithmetic-Calculations-With-Percents.xhtml/

Unfortunately, my crusade toward ending mathematical illiteracy--or as the writer John Allen Paulos put it--innumeracy, has been thwarted by a lack of publicity on the evils of this condition. Being mathematically illiterate has serious consequences not just for your fledgling children but also for adults in all walks of life. Parents, you know how dreaded is the knowledge that your child is struggling in math; and this is because doing poorly in this subject often has serious negative repercussions for doing well in school. Children who do well in math--which they know is a tough subject--gain the confidence to lick other battles in other subjects. Thus a child who struggles in English yet does very well in mathematics, still has a high self-assessment because such students know they are capable in a subject that many do poorly in. On the other hand, students who do poorly in mathematics tend to have lower self-assessments of their academic abilities.

For this reason, getting children off to a strong start in mathematics is principal in any educator's plan. As parents, we should see that our children are getting off to such strong starts and are also given any tools, aids, tricks, or whatever to insure that they succeed in mathematics. Fraction mastery is one of these tools. And fraction mastery is simpler than one might believe.

Really, arithmetic and fraction mastery go hand in hand. Master arithmetic and fractions are problematic no more. So when parents ask me what they can give to their kids so that they can succeed in school, I tell them to give their children the keys to mastery over these two areas. For this reason, I have condensed over twenty years of teaching experience into the production of these keys. Hopefully, through the use of these keys, my crusade to end mathematical illiteracy will one day be victorious.

See more at Math Ebooks

... ]]>