Monthly Archives: July 2016

Common Math Pitfalls

struggling math student with overlay

One of the great benefits of teaching in the public schools for 7 years is the sheer volume of students I saw. Having over 1,000 students pass through my classroom allowed me to see common trends and pitfalls.

Although students are very different it as normally the same things that tripped them up in mathematics. And as a homeschool mom it is harder to recognize that your student is struggling with a concept that lots and lots of students struggle with. Instead you just see that they don’t get it.

So in the next couple of weeks I’ll be identifying some of the most common math pitfalls and giving some suggestions on how to address them.

Common Math Pitfalls:

Not knowing your math facts

Negative numbers


Photo Credit: Paul Fisher with text added.

Rock, Paper, Scissors! How math can help you win

Before watching this video play a few games of rock, paper, scissors with a friend or sibling. Make a note of how many times you won.

Now watch the video.

In the video they use game theory to help you make better choices. Find an opponent who didn’t watch the video and try rock, paper, scissors again. Any improvement?

Baby Bets…using Probability

I haven’t posted in a few weeks because I have been a little preoccupied. I’m 38 weeks pregnant as of today with our second child. So we are on baby watch!

As a mathematician I’ve been wondering what my chances are of going into labor on any specific day. Of course there are so many variables…but it is still kind of interesting to think about. I found this beauty on the internet:

due date probability

To make things a little more mathematical and interesting we could ponder these questions.

  1. Did they make those calculations using theoretical or experimental probability?
  2. How do my chances of having the baby change with each day that passes?

Hmmm…so much to think about.