Math is a pretty hard subject to grasp when it doesn’t come naturally to you, but there is always a way to learn. Here are a few methods that will get you through the struggle:
- DO Math
Time and time again we see students come in at the last minute to study for an exam. This is not a very effective way of learning. In order to truly understand math, you have to DO it. And I don’t mean just the homework, do extra! If you didn’t understand the homework fully by the time you got to the end, that is an indication that you need to search for some extra practice. If you have a textbook, this is the easiest way to find extra practice. Typically teachers do not assign you all of the problems in a certain section. Do the unassigned problems, and if the answers aren’t at the end of the book: use Google! I promise you can always find some way to check your work. If you don’t have a textbook, search the subject plus the word “worksheet” in Google. A lot of times you’ll find something that comes up and has the answers! If all else fails, ask your teacher where you could find some extra practice. They may just provide it for you!
- Take Notes
I know you are thinking, well duh, but some students don’t know how to take notes in math. If you aren’t already math-minded, you may not understand just an example of a problem without explanations between steps, so write down the example with the steps in words! (If you teacher is moving too fast, ask him/her politely to slow down, trust me, other students in your class with thank you for it.) Here is an example of what I mean:
Factor: 2x^2 + 4x + 2
Step 1: Look for a common factor, we see that it is 2, so divide every term by 2
2(x^2 + 2x + 1)
Step 2: For trinomials with a leading coefficient of 1, we can find two numbers that multiply to the last number and add to the middle number.
Step 3: These numbers become the factors!
Personalize these to fit your needs! Experiment with different methods and find what the best one for you is. If you miss something in class, make sure to ask your teacher after class or during your lunch/study hall. And if you can: email them! They are there to help you, so take advantage of all of the time you have.
- Keep Organized!
It helps a lot to keep your notebook and your work organized. Keep section/chapters in order with the homework, so it is easier to look back if you are reviewing. Also, organize your work by keeping steps clear and logical. If you can’t write all of your work neatly and understandable on the worksheet provided, use extra paper! It will be easier for you to understand when looking back.
- Review for Tests
If your teacher does not provide a review for you, just ask! Most teachers will at least give you a list of all topics that will be on the test. Take a look back at your notes, and look back on the homeworks. Choose 4 to 5 questions from each section to practice. If you get them all correct, yay! If not, redo the whole assignment. Don’t wait until the last minute to start studying for the test. Start a week before and go section by section. This will ensure that you will have time to ask the teacher questions if you are having trouble with a certain sections.
I know that math is not an easy subject for everyone, but the best way to beat a problem is by working. Never give up, and keep pushing through, one example at a time.
Math and Summer Fun
What do you think of when I say summer vacation? Pool parties, band camp, sleep-away camp, tons and tons of sleep? How about math? Studying? Not so much, right? What if I told you that you could do math over summer? *gasp* Shocking I know, but it would be so beneficial to you! I’m going to give you a few ways to make summer math fun:
It may shock you to hear that yes, there are math games, and it is super easy to create your own! Think of your favorite family game and add a math element to it. Uno, for instance, is a great example! Use the cards to practice your addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills! Make the red and yellow cards negative and the blue and green cards positive and compete with friends to get the largest number using the cards you’re dealt. There are so many endless possibilities; just pick your favorite game and roll with it. Be sure to share your ideas with your teacher when you go back to school in the fall!
- Give Yourself a Project
Any project! It can be fun, informational, and interesting! Pick any math topic you like! How about starting a garden? Plant beans, tomatoes, flowers, whatever you like! Count and see how many grow per day and per week. Graph your results and decorate it. This project would make a great scrapbook too! It will also be something interesting to write about in the typical “What I Did Over Summer Break” essay you’ll have to write come August for english class.
- Math Drills
Okay, so this one doesn’t sound as fun, but if you make it into a competition with friends and get prizes involved I bet you’d have a blast! Make note cards with the multiplication tables from 1-12, perfect squares, and perfect cubes, and see how fast you can go! This will also be super helpful when you get back to school. (Especially the times tables!)
Baking = Math! (And chemistry if you wanna get technical). Bake a cake, cookies, or bread from scratch! This will help you understand fractions (especially if you wanna half a recipe, or double one!). Once you’re done baking, decorate your cake or cookies with any theme you want (Maybe a math theme?) and then enjoy!
- Learn a New Skill
This one doesn’t necessarily have to be math! Have you ever seen something and wanted to know how to do it? Well, do some research! Take a summer class! This is a great way to expand your mind and improve your study skills. You could learn a new language or about art, or join a book club! Anything that spikes your interest.
Hopefully these things sounds as fun to you as they do to me. Remember, get creative! There is no limit to what you can do with math and your mind! Math is all around you waiting to be discovered and explored! You might just discover that you like math, and if nothing else, you will certainly do better in school if you practice some of your basic skills before fall comes around. Being ahead of the group could give you a lot of advantages in the future and in life in general.
With Spring Break fast approaching, you might begin to wonder, where do math tutors go on vacation? Times Square of course! Personally, I always prefer the beach, somewhere I can relax, read a book, do some math in the sand. But what about those who are completely dedicated to knowledge? Those mathematicians that not only DO MaTh, but explore the proof and people behind it. Where do they go on vacation? Where do they spend their free time? Now you may be thinking, “Well it’s obvious! In a lab! In the library!”, but mathematicians are people too; they strive to travel, to explore, to discover.
Some may think that the only place a mathematician can discover new things is in the infinite limitlessness of space, but trust me, not everyone wants to (or can) be hurled into space by a rocket traveling 20 times the speed of sound. In the future perhaps, but today? Not so much. So where do they go? Well, why not back to the place where a principle of math was discovered? Why not go see where Pythagoras lived? Or Galileo? Visit Einstein’s or Fibonacci’s hometown? So many people from artists to physicists draw inspiration from the things around them. What inspired these great people might do the same for the mathematician.
Let’s focus on Pythagoras to begin, since I believe most people are familiar with his most famous Pythagorean Theorem. In history he is known as the first pure mathematician. Born in 570 BC, Pythagoras traveled through Egypt, Italy, Greece and some say even India. He studied under Anaximander, and he was known to be an influence on Plato and Euclid (among many others). Can you imagine taking a pilgrimage through these places? As we are all aware, we may not be able to see exactly where he was because he lived so long ago, but a trip to see the Pyramids and a walk through an ancient Greek town might be just enough to inspire greatness.
How about Fibonacci next? Have you heard of the his famous sequence? In the Fibonacci sequence of numbers, each number is the sum of the previous two numbers, and as most mathematicians know it is pretty phenomenal, particularly because it can be found all throughout nature. You can see more about that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahXIMUkSXX0. It’s extremely interesting, and not just to MaTh nerds. Fibonacci was born in 1170 in a town called Bugia on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. He traveled extensively with his father (a wealthy merchant) around the Mediterranean Sea where he learned the Hindu-Arabic system and the arithmetic that accompanied it. He was a great influence on modern mathematics, introducing the Hindu-Arabic numerals (digits 0-9 and place values) in his book Liber Abaci, thus replacing Roman Numerals system throughout Europe. In the 19th century he was immortalized in stone with a statue now located in the Piazza dei Miracoli (where the Leaning Tower of Pisa is located). Now wouldn’t Italy make for an inspirational trip? You could even learn about a little bit of failed architecture.
Next, let’s find someone a little more modern: Einstein. And I know what you’re thinking, he’s a physicist, but math is a huge element of physics, so let’s just see what we can find. Born in Germany in 1879, he lived most of his early life in Munich, but he also traveled a lot (which is becoming synonymous with many famous mathematicians). He worked and researched in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and the United States. Quite a road trip, right? It would be almost impossible for me to summarize Einstein’s papers here, especially since a lot of his theories are still in the works of being proven today, but I will leave you with this, Einstein was an incredible person, intellectually and personally. He felt a great deal of responsibility for Germany’s actions in WWII, and without him the Manhattan Project may have never come to be. I believe a pilgrimage to his hometown, the universities where he taught and researched, and his home in Princeton, NJ would be an amazing experience and inspiration.
All of these intellectuals lived (somewhat) just like us. They grew up with hardships and challenges and out of that came something beautiful. They answered (and created) some of this world’s greatest questions. So on your next vacation (mathematical or not), look around and wonder, “What can I learn here?”. Who lives there? Works there? Could the place inspire greatness? There is always something to discover. And who knows, you might just discover something great.
MaTh TuTor. Sounds like a pretty straight forward job, right? Just reverse the words, and you get it: we tutor MaTh. But there is so much more. Not only do we tutor MaTh, we care, we create, we adapt, and most importantly we DO MaTh. But why do we do it all? Because we believe that a world where everyone understands MaTh is a wonderful place. So, how do we do it? Well that’s what I’m here to tell you!
Do you know how many students the average public high school teacher in Georgia has? The average class size is 25.4; if each teacher has 5 classes that makes a total of 127 students per teacher. This makes it fairly complicated for the teacher to ensure that each student gets the attention they need. This is where the MaTh tutor comes in! We care for the individual student. When they succeed, we succeed. We assess each and every student we have on an individual level. We look at their personality type and their learning style to determine what they need to succeed. It’s our job to care for and cater to every student to the best of our ability. It’s part of our job, and we love it because knowing and seeing a student’s progress is extremely gratifying.
Enrichment and practice are two things that are incredibly important to learning and succeeding in MaTh, and as MaTh tutors we are dedicated to both of these things. This is why we create. We create games, worksheets, instructional videos, interactive projects, reward systems, all in the pursuit of our student’s success. Not only are these things helpful to us, they benefit our students. MaTh games are a wonderful way to get the student involved and excited about MaTh. Instructional videos help students who need instant access to information on a specific MaTh topic. Interactive projects build teamwork and leadership skills. Our reward systems encourage our students to constantly improve, and to not only get the grade, but to reach another goal that may be more rewarding for them personally.
Every student is different. They learn at different paces, they are encouraged by different things, and they all have different interests. Being MaTh tutors we deal with almost all types of students, and sometimes we come against a challenge. But we adapt. If we have a problem, we have the time to step back and look at our student to see what we can do better. Why is this student struggling with a specific topic? What can we do to make it better? What can we do for this student to ensure that they succeed? These are the questions we ask ourselves when a problem arises. These are the questions that we take the time to answer to ensure the student’s success.
MaTh. It’s a unique subject that many students abhor. But why? It’s all around us. From the food that we eat to the technology we use, MaTh is the basis for most of the modern world. As MaTh tutors we are determined to encourage students to not only succeed in MaTh, but to enjoy it, explore it, and appreciate it. So not only do we tutor MaTh, we live it, love it, and make the world a better place with it.
We all know how important it is to learn good organizational skills and get organized. Imagine discovering a new law of physics and not remembering where you left your proof! Keeping organized is one of the most important ways to DO MaTh and DO it successfully, so here are some tips to keep you or your student organized.
- Keep everything together.
All of your MaTh assignments, notes, quizzes, tests, and homework should be kept together! Get a binder, and fill it up! Use dividers to separate different categories of assignments, and keep your assignments in order. All of this will help you to easily reference your materials, just in case you need to go back and find something.
2. Keep your notes in order.
A lot of MaTh builds on top of itself. Something you learned in chapter one could be used in chapter three. Keeping things in order will make it easier to go back and reference later, just in case you need to.
3. Organize the work itself.
We all know those lines on the paper are supposed to be used for something. Show your work step by step on your paper! This way, if you get an answer wrong, you can easily go back and see which step you messed up on. This is especially helpful when using order of operations. Finish a step? Write the next one on a new line. Simple, easy (and also very helpful to your teacher who is grading your work).
4. Keep your homework separate and check those answers.
Homework is the most important part of learning MaTh because it’s where you DO MaTh. Check your answers as you work. Did you get one wrong? Go back and explore to see why (look at those steps you’ve been writing out line by line). Ask questions! Whether in class or at MaThCliX, your teachers or tutors are there to help! It’s our job and we are thrilled to do it!
5. Organize your space and make time.
We all know MaTh takes time! And practice makes perfect, so be smart with the time you have. MaThCliX is a great place for you to come and DO MaTh, but it can’t all be done here. Set aside time every day to DO MaTh. Just 30 minutes a day can greatly improve your understanding and techniques. You should also have a specific space in which to DO MaTh. This space needs to be organized, neat, and distraction free. This will help you focus on your work and learn effectively.
Becoming more organized will help you or your student become less stressed and more confident in facing problems head on. Using these tips, make a plan. Organize a space, make time, work it out, and come to us with questions. Have your work neat so we can see exactly what you are doing, and overall be confident! Everyone can DO MaTh, and being organized is just one way to make it easier.