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Are you frustrated with teaching canceling out common factors or converting units? 

I have an idea that is fun! 

Try Critter Math!

START WITH THE BASICS

The student learns quickly when they are having fun. 
Always try to use images that draw them in.

Below, I start the student out with the idea of like things canceling out like things. This leads to the concept of the power of 1 which is extremely important with fractions, pre-algebra, algebra 1, and algebra 2! 

As a result of this exercise, all of the clip art will cancel out. 
All the alligators would cancel  out all the alligators and all the dogs would cancel out all of the dogs as seen below:

Then you gently bump up the difficulty with something like below:

If done correctly, the student will get the following as a result:

Of course, the doggies can be anywhere in the denominator and the alligators can be anywhere in the numerator.  

ANOTHER CRITTER MATH EXAMPLE

Here is another example below:

Which will result in the following correct answer:


NOW TRY IT WITH NUMBERS!

Once they have mastered this then you can replace the clip art with numbers!

Here is the answer:

Here is another example:

Here is the answer:

All of these exercises are extremely useful in helping the child to solve problems like ‘⅔ of 18’ and many other things with fractions and units!

LEARNING ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS

Then once they have mastered this, I start them learning about relationships between the different things like the relationship between dog and alligator!

Below is the answer the student should get:

MORE CHALLENGING APPLICATIONS

Then step it up a little bit more with the following:

Here is the solution:

UNIT CONVERSIONS 

Then we can slowly step it up to unit conversion. 

Here is the correct answer:

Here is the answer below:

MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE APPLICATIONS

Here is a more complex application used for middle school science:

I would want the student to be able to expand their skills here as follows:

ANOTHER SCIENCE EXAMPLE

Here is another application for middle school science:

The solution would be as follows:

PRE-ALGEBRA

Here is a pre-algebra application:

CONCLUSION

This is just a beginning, but a good, solid beginning where the student can have fun learning about canceling out factors and unit conversion!


Rosemarie Colon is a Math Coach at The Academy Virtual. She received the Coach Award in December 2020 for superior engagement, team spirit, and teaching with great heart. She has served as a keynote speaker for a Parent Info Session about “Dyslexia – A Mother’s Journey.” You can hear more about her story in this short video here.