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# our math saga and how would you introduce pre-algebra (a la "hands on equations")?

In the last weeks I posted about our unschooling / deschooling, math hating DD (8). To sum up, DD, liked math worksheets 2 years ago, then did no formal math for 2 years, then I got panicky and offered some formal math, and she declared she hated it, with passion. Yet she wanted to find the right approach, because she didn't want to be "behind."

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She wanted something girly and pretty, and I wrote about a dozen of math stories about two fairies, and printed them up on pretty paper. She loved those, devoured them, actually. Her grasp of concepts is really good, and her belief in herself as "being good in math" seems to be growing. She is excited about math now, as long as it is about fairies. I'm not sure how many fairy math stories are left in me, but maybe another dozen. If it is not fairies, she is not as keen. But apparently the fairies can direct her to other resources, like 3 pages from another book, and she is okay with that .

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Now, I've been reading up on math, as part of my fairy research, and I stumbled on the idea of early introduction of algebra, such as hands on equations. Â Today we drew a scale, and played with some almonds, and she did want to apply arithmetical reasoning, but sort of started to understand the other way to look at the problems. But her question is WHY would anyone do it?

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Her attitude was great, and she was interested, and grasping it. But I don't really know how to explain the reasons behind equations to her, other than having the fairies create some kind of equations.

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I would like to maintain her newly found interest in math, but I'm not sure I'm creative enough to be writing fairy stories forever...(At this point similar resources, such as Math Adventures, didn't interest her). And I think it makes sense to start introducing algebraic thinking at this stage, but how would I make if fun?

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Thanks!

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P.S. Is it worth getting the hands on equations materials, rather than improvising?

Edited by midnightwriter - 11/16/10 at 12:40pm

As long as the weights work, I'd think improvised materials would do just fine.

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I can't think of real world examples for some reason. I know I use it all the time, but when I actually write them out, they turn into arithmetic.

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For a fantasy example, how about a problem of two fairies who fly different speeds trying to meet somewhere at the same time, and if the slow fairy leaves at one time, when does the fast fairy need to leave?

I'd say that the hands-on equations would appeal to the sort of kid who loves chess. The learning of "legal moves" and manipulation of standardized pawns and dice appeals to kids who like to play board games that involve rules. I'm reading between the lines and guessing that maybe this isn't your girl? It sounds like you've got a good thing going with the fairies and the inspiration-led balance work.Â

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Miranda

Thanks! I was able to find one word problem after some googling, and was able to metamorphise into fairies.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chanÂ

As long as the weights work, I'd think improvised materials would do just fine.

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I can't think of real world examples for some reason. I know I use it all the time, but when I actually write them out, they turn into arithmetic.

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For a fantasy example, how about a problem of two fairies who fly different speeds trying to meet somewhere at the same time, and if the slow fairy leaves at one time, when does the fast fairy need to leave?

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmammaÂ

I'd say that the hands-on equations would appeal to the sort of kid who loves chess. The learning of "legal moves" and manipulation of standardized pawns and dice appeals to kids who like to play board games that involve rules. I'm reading between the lines and guessing that maybe this isn't your girl? It sounds like you've got a good thing going with the fairies and the inspiration-led balance work.Â

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Miranda

Â This is great to know, thanks! You are right, she is not into games and rules. I shall continue with what is working.

I just wanted to say I think it's wonderful that you wrote stories for your DD! That's very creative.

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As for your question, I'm sure you've thought of this, but have you searched Amazon for books? I know there are several math-related story series' but not sure if there are fairy ones. Noble Knights of Knowledge, Sir Cumference, etc (I looked for my son so these are titles that might appeal to him, but perhaps there is something similar that would appeal to her?).

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ETA: searched amazon for "fairy math" and got this as a first result Fractured Fairy Tales...

Thanks!

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Yes, I've searched around quite extensively. She is really into fairies, horses, and girly things (while she is not a girly girl at all, she likes visually gentle things). Most, if not all math games, even if they have a girl protagonist, are very boyish, and involve shooting, fighting, quests, detective work and so on. Quite frustrating, actually. The only girly thing I found is MathRider, and even though it is better than nothing, it is not exactly what she and I envision. MathRider is only drills, and all theÂ  "quests" are visually the same.Â Something like SpectacleCity has more problems to solve and things figure out, but it is not visually appealing, hectic, and well, boyish. DD wants to have a game that is visually like bellasara.com, but where she'd need to solve mathematical problems in order to take care of her magical horse. I have a feeling she'd be doing math all day, if it was on bellasara. Okay, I'm just venting. Too bad I'm not a computer programmer with a serious budget.

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BTW, if anyone knows of a smartly done, visually gentle and pretty, nature / fairy / horsesÂ oriented math game, whichÂ involves problem solving and not just drilling,Â without excessive noises and visual disorganisation, please let me know.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68Â

I just wanted to say I think it's wonderful that you wrote stories for your DD! That's very creative.

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As for your question, I'm sure you've thought of this, but have you searched Amazon for books? I know there are several math-related story series' but not sure if there are fairy ones. Noble Knights of Knowledge, Sir Cumference, etc (I looked for my son so these are titles that might appeal to him, but perhaps there is something similar that would appeal to her?).

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ETA: searched amazon for "fairy math" and got this as a first result Fractured Fairy Tales...

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P.S. (for some reason I can't edit my own post?)

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I had most of the books on stories and math borrowed from the library in the last months. She warmed up to Zookeeper for a day, but is not interested in the others in the series, which are a trip to the moon and dino dig. She is very particular. There are many really great booksÂ  in the math adventures series / category. I think they are fantastic. I've seen most of them by now. I think when she gets even more confident in her abilities, she might be more interested. Right now she sees them as trickery to get her interested in math Â We didn't even read them, just looked through them.

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Quote:
BTW, if anyone knows of a smartly done, visually gentle and pretty, nature / fairy / horsesÂ oriented math game, whichÂ involves problem solving and not just drilling,Â without excessive noises and visual disorganisation, please let me know.

Me too

What you have already done sounds marvelous - any chance you can post some of your fairy stories?Â Â

I had never heard of "Hands on Equations" before and am just browsing the site now.Â Â  Based on the subject line I had come here to post on Khan Academy online tutorials - he has hundreds of topics in math and science, all free on khanacademy.org.Â Â  In case you try these out, please let us know how adaptable they are to the fairy theme!

Paint, stickers, and find-replace-all could make any good math program into any theme you like.

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Not that I have one to hand, but I'd concentrate on content because it'd be easy to make something with no theme into fairies or horses, and something that is already dinosaurs or elephants could be changed with only a bit more effort.

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