First of all, thanks for all the comments on that. It was great to get everyone’s different ideas and tips.

Here’s what we did.

I printed out the graph paper I mentioned in the first post. I cut out ten single squares, ten ten-square strips and ten hundred-square squares. After I put bandages on my blistered hands (ha ha, it was a lot of cutting!) I sat down with Abby the next morning, equipped with my bits of paper and a Magna Doodle.

She was intrigued and got it almost immediately. We counted ten single squares and lay them down on the ten strip. She saw that it was indeed ten ones long. Then we lay ten ten strips on the hundred square, showing that it was equivalent to ten tens. Then I said “How many do I have?” and lay down 3 tens and 4 ones. “Thirty-four!” came the cry. I wrote 3 over the word tens and 4 over the word ones and lay the papers under the words. I asked “How many tens do I have? How many ones?”

I swear you could see the lightbulb appear over her head.

It was nothing then to extend it to hundreds as well, and we played with them for a few minutes more before she lit off with a gleam in her eyes, paper in her fists and headed for the markers.

So that’s that!

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yay! glad she got it, and i think it’s so great that you’re able to give your children the 1:1 help when they need it. i wish i had that growing up. i was so embarrassed to ask for help when i didn’t understand things because i didn’t want to look dumb when everyone else was “getting” it.

Congratulations to Clever Abby and her Clever Mother!

I think your math-challenged mom can almost understand it now after you explained it so well….. Ha!

Love, Mom

Very good idea. I will definitely be using that when I teach my kiddos that concept.

Reeeesult! Good for you both. It’s such a delight when you see the flicker burst into flames. [I think perhaps I should be more careful in my analogies! Eek]

Best wishes

Ooo I see you are on twitter too!

Awesome! As a math teacher, I am always interested to see how people learn concepts like these. It is very good to know that this worked. And thanks for the good description of what you did. :-)