Amy Gruen’s blog is a pile of fun. She’s a magpie, looking about her world for odds and ends to bring back to her classroom, then posting pictures and explanation for our benefit. Recommmended.

You always hear people say, “kids don’t like math!” Correction…kids don’t like feeling dumb.

Peopledon’t like feeling dumb.

I’m flabbergasted. I have a number of students—maybe 10? 20?—who determine by division how many bills there are, then figure out by multiplying 60x60x24 how many bills are given away in a day. Fine. But then they start subtracting … after day 1 there are 9,913,600 bills left. After 2 days there are 9,827,200. Almost immediately many students lose interest, but there are a few arithmetic ox that start chugging through it (with calculators, to be sure). 9,740,800. 9,654,400. I watch in disbelief as the markerboards are filled in, line by line. 8,617,600. 8,533,000. After a while I can’t help myself. I casually mention that people sometimes use division to do repeated subtraction, and I countdown from 10 by 2′s and compare to 10/2. They are a little chagrined at not having thought of that, but they try it. Then they face confusion about handling the remainder.