From the Tutor's Corner

Student Miss-Rules

Students often make up their own rules in order to simplify solving math problems. Here are some of the doozies that I often encounter.

Miss-Rule for Subtracting Mixed Numbers

Always subtract the smaller fraction from the larger fraction. (Avoids borrowing from the whole number.)

Division Miss-Rule

When division is called for, always divide the larger number by the smaller number.

Miss-Rule for Solving Word Problems

Step 1. Pick up the calculator.
Step 2. Look around for numbers (in the problem or wherever) to enter into the calculator.
Step 3: Seek help: "Do I multiply or divide?"
Step 4. Read the problem.

Miss-Rule for Negative Numbers

When the answer to a problem turns out to be a negative number, ignore the negative sign. (The rational: in real life, nothing has a negative value.)

John Schwarz