23 May 2006

RightStart Geometry, RightStart B

The continuing saga of our adventures using RightStart Geometry and RightStart B. I have a 10yo and a 6yo who have average math ability.The 10yo has done Miquon, Singapore, RightStart Transitions, Level D and Level E; RightStart has saved her from a life a math phobia.

On Tuesdays I upload an update of what we did in math for the week.

RightStart Geometry:

Lesson15 Drawing Rhombuses. Introduces the concept of a rhombus. Easy lesson, apparently, as I am treated to eye rolling when I ask how it went.

Lesson 16 Drawing Squares. This looks amazingly like what KidV2 did in RightStart B the other day. I like the comment in the sidebar “A common error in drawing squares is to guess at the length of a side. That’s a no-no.” I like the slightly breezy tone. KidV1 finds it easy and fun.

Lesson 17 Classifying Quadrilaterals. This lesson takes longer than previous lessons. At one point when I walk through I’m asked, “what’s a perpendicular?” KidV2 show up, and the discussion turns to quadrilaterals (how the Geek Family spends its time -- discussing quadrilaterals around the kitchen table). The lesson involves 2 worksheets, Venn diagrams, reading charts. KidV1 declares, “ This lesson is the most fun of any lesson so far.” Her face is bright and shining.

Lesson 18 The Fraction Chart. This involves making a pencil rendering of the fraction puzzle you can buy from RightStart. The lesson takes about an hour. Towards the end KidV1 comments, “My tenths are going to be slightly off, and at this point I don’t really care.” The idea is to bisect lines using the 30 60, and see the relationship between the fractions. It is TEDIOUS work, and KidV1 comments that sometimes it takes several tries to get the lines correct (I assume a wrong line early in the chart will lead to a mess later in the chart). Her chart looks good when I glance at it. She hated this lesson, though.

Lesson 19 Patterns in Fractions. “This is a short lesson, so you might have time to get started on the next one.” Hah. As if that’s going to happen. The lesson involves drawing fractions on a line, using a fraction chart for guidance. This same sort of thing has been in previous RightStart levels. I notice that she has the answer page out as she’s working. When I ask, she explains that she didn’t understand the directions until she looked at the answer. I think she’s seen me do that sort of thing before (looking at the answer to figure out how to get from here to there). After a glance at the answer sheet she could work the problems on her own.

She announces that she does NOT want to stop math for the summer. Although we are not officially schooling in June and July she would like to continue doing RightStart Geometry. How’s that for a testimonial?

RightStart B:

Leson 26 More Hundreds & Building Rectangles. We review hundreds by looking at the number cards. KidV2 hesitates, starting to say, “I don’t remember how to say it in Chinese....” “You just say ‘hundred’ for these, remember?” I say, touching the 00s as I say the word hundred. Once we have that cleared up, we sail through the lesson. She is supposed to partition one of the hundreds in her math notebook. I happen to try it myself, and discover that you have to turn the page sideways to fit in all of the digits. I find this annoying -- what if I hadn’t tried it myself first? She would’ve ended up with a mess. Couldn’t the book mention this in passing?

At the end of the lesson we are supposed to work with rectangles again. This time we number them 1-5, and try arranging them to make new rectangles. As we work I yell out, “Hey, look! The numbers add up!” Whee -- once again Mommy is so excited about the math program she wants to take over. A couple of minutes later I notice the book says, “If the child notices, discuss the pattern of the numbers.” Whoops. “Oh, honey, I was supposed to let you notice that yourself. Sorry.” “That’s okay, Mommy, I wouldn’t have noticed it anyway,” she replies confidently. It occurs to me that I shouldn’t be upset about the book not telling me to rotate the math notebook for the partitioning, since there’s a good chance I wouldn’t have read THAT little tidbit either.

Lesson 27 Rectangles from Tiles and Commutative Law. Usually I look forward to these lessons about the same way one looks forward to 30 minutes on the treadmill -- you know you’ll feel good once it’s over, but you hate to get started. For some reason, though, this lesson appeals to me. We begin by making squares using 6 tiles of 2 colors. I think we’re supposed to be discovering multiplicaton, but at our house we become absorbed in making interesting patterns out of the red and green tiles.

Next, I am supposed to draw 2 part whole circles on the blackboard so we can discover commutative law. I draw the circles, draw a line in the “whole” circle to put the answer in, realize the lines look like mouths, draw eyes, draw tentacles, say, “Hey, don’t these look like those monsters at the end of Chicken Little?” Silliness ensues. I count the green tiles in Spanish, the red tiles in French; the tiles talk to each other in their respective accents. KidV2 already knew commutative law, so this is playtime.

I tell her there are 2 worksheets but she only has to do 1 (the other is in case a child needs more chance to discover commutative law). She opts to do both.

Lesson 28 Thousands & Patterning. Struggle. The ephemeral concept of thousands. I build 1000 from 10 abacus tiles. We discuss what it would be like if we had more abacus tiles; I wish I had some abacus cubes to use. I wish I were in a Montessori classroom with unlimited golden bead material. Hours later I realize that we did have 2 dozen abacus cubes left from KidV1’s journey through RightStart ... from RightStart Transitions, I guess. I wonder why we don’t use them in Level B. Hmmm. It’s hard for KidV2 to visualize what it would be like to have more tiles or maybe some cubes. She needs something concrete.

Once we have thousands nailed down (somewhat), the story problems we discuss are easy. And the patterns? These are a fun break.

Lesson 29. Tens and Ones & Right Triangles. My head is stuffed up. We are supposed to use the abacus to combine tens and ones, while also using the place value cards. KidV2 understands how to do this. We could whip through this lesson easily, but she wants the abacus beads to “talk” to each other as they’re moving along the wires. I am bleary eyed, and don’t want to play.

We move on to right triangles. She is confused -- those 2 words sound a bit like “rectangle”, and she has trouble differentiating. We draw a dozen different triangles on the chalkboard, discussing what makes a triangle a “right triangle”.

We discuss taking a break from RightStart. Next week we will do Waldorf-based math. After that we will take a summer break.

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