Wednesday, November 17, 2010

GED Math: Simplifying Algebra Expressions Disributive Property

I have found that one of the most difficult math concepts for GED students to understand and grasp is the concept of combining like terms, expecially those involving the Disributive Property.

I am beginning to understand that unless the learner has an almost perfect understanding of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing integers (positive & negative), the process of simplifying expressions, along with the Distributive Property, is very difficult.

Students also need to have their basic math facts memorized. Many will come in understanding and knowing the basic facts of adding and subtracting. But when asked to multiply and divide.... that can be more challenging. Have them practice their facts, outside of class, using worksheets.

Even with a good grasp of integers and basic math facts, most students will need to take the concepts of the distributive property, combining like terms, and solving expressions one step at a time.

One important method is to teach a "small learning concept" and then give them a LOT of practice. For example, I taught the distribute property and went through about 7 examples. I then followed up with a worksheet containing 20 more examples! Although it seems like alot, and perhaps you might think way too much..... my students want the extra practice.

Once they understand the Distributive Property, I will then proceed and teach the combining of like terms. Here again, it will take a LOT of examples..... followed by a worksheet.