Archive for February, 2007

Math Anxiety and EFT

Research shows that being stressed about math actually makes it harder to use your brain to learn math.  The stress saps your brain of memory that can be used to learn. Read this insightful article about math anxiety, but don’t despair we have a helpful tool!

Remember the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), the tapping activity, we did last week? That’s one very helpful strategy to help you release the negative emotions and stress related to math. It simultaneously supports you in opening to learning math. You can get the manual on the EFT method for free with this link. You may als want to check out their home page. It lists case studies on how EFT has supported people with a variety of issues.

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Solving Equations Strategies

We’ve done several methods of solving equations:

1. The cover-up method has you cover up the number and guess-and-check your answers.

2. The drawing method is where you draw a balance beam and write your equation out visually. For example 3x + 2 = 2x + 5 would look like:
x x x + + | x x + + + + +
then you take away variables and or numbers until you have x equal to a number.

3. The algebraic method has you show how you solve the equation. The video by Nutshell Math shows how to solve multi-step equations algebraically.

Strategy: Always check your answer by re-writing the original problem.

Strategy: When checking, wherever there are variables in your equation write parenthesis. Put the answer into the parenthesis and check that both sides are equal.

For example, 2x – 3 = -9, x = -3.

2( ) – 3 = -9 Write parenthesis where there are variables.
2(-3) – 3 = -9 Then substitute in answer.
-6 – 3 = -9 Simplify.
-9 = -9 Make sure the left-hand side equals the right-hand side.

Warning: If the two sides are not equal, your answer isn’t correct. Check your work in the original problem.

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Decimals Review

Here is a quick review on operations with decimals. This video is on subtracting decimals.

Strategy: Before you calculate the exact answer, estimate. Use the estimate to check for the reasonableness of your answer.

Estimate these answers. Then calculate. (Answers are below.)

1. 7.8 + 0.45
2. 45.3 +17.07
3. 32.04 – 7.8
4. 6.3 x 2.4
5. 9.2 / 2.5
6. 12.3 x -3.06
7. -6.3 – 4.2
8. 8.2 – 12.03

1. Estimate: 8 Answer = 8.25
2. Estimate: 62 Answer = 62.37
3. Estimate: 24 Answer = 24.24
4. Estimate: 12 Answer = 15.12
5. Estimate: 3 Answer = 3.68
6. Estimate: -36 Answer = -37.638
7. Estimate: -10 Answer = -10.5
8. Estimate: -4 Answer = -3.83

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My First YouTube Video: How-to Hoop Dance

YouTube is a free website with a tagline of “Broadcast Yourself.” It’s full of junk and gems and it has great potential to support learning.

I unknowingly created my first YouTube videos a year ago when my dad gave me a digital camera. For my sister’s birthday, I made some how-to videos on “hooping”, a dance form using a hula hoop. She emailed me asking if it would be okay if she posted the videos to YouTube, and then added, “Well, let me know if it’s a problem because I’ve already posted them.” Jessie received so much positive feedback and requests for additional instructional videos that she created a how-to hoop dance YouTube group and a Squidoo Hooping lens featuring the videos. (Click on the link to see my first YouTube video. If you want to learn how to make a dance hoop, click on her “Other lenses by me” button at the top right.)

All of the positive feedback from the dancing videos inspired me to make some math videos. I’ve received dozens of appreciative emails about the videos. Now I have two YouTube groups specifically for helping you to learn math. One group is a pre-algebra group and the other is about Vedic math, the ancient mental calculating system from India. Enjoy!

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MVMS Student Investing Club

If you enjoyed the stock market project, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to join the MVMS Investing Club. The club is open to all students and will meet  Thursdays at lunch in my room starting this week. We’ll be learning about the stock market and investment strategies. Teams of students will be participating in a 10-week stock market simulation activity where you will have $100,000 to play with. Fun!

Financial experts will periodically join us to share investment strategies and tips – not “insider tips” though. We also hope to take a field trip to the Pacific Stock Exchange. Besides knowledge about investing, my personal interest is in the Law of Attraction and sharing tools on how to increase abundance in your life.

So bring some friends and your lunch and join us on Thursday.

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Flash Animation of Tom Lehrer’s Elements Song

When I was a kid, I loved Tom Lehrer’s song. They were brilliant, satirical and hysterically funny. Here is one of my favorites done with Flash Animation about the periodic table. Perhaps, this song was the seed that led me to choose chemistry as a major in college.

Sing along if you can…

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Quick and Yummy Dessert Recipe

This is my favorite recipe and I wanted to share it with you because it’s so tasty and easy to make. Several years ago, I came across a wonderful recipe for a wild blackberry mousse in a cookbook by the dessert chef at Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley. It called for gelatin, which I don’t eat because I’m a vegetarian. (If you don’t know what’s in gelatin, a key ingredient in Jello and marshmallows, you don’t want to know. Yuck!) So I modified and simplified the recipe and my original creation was absolutely yummy and it takes about 2 minutes to make!

Ms. Newburn’s Whipped Dessert

about 1/3 c of heavy whipping cream (preferably organic) – don’t use stuff out of a can
some frozen fruit – my favorite is blackberry
1 T of sugar
Put in a blender and blend until whipped. If you can get it to the consistency of whipped cream that’s the best.


Vary the fruit. I use frozen strawberries, berry mixes and mango. I’ve also added pineapple with shredded coconut or a little coconut milk. Bananas don’t work too well though you can experiment with them yourself.

Add a dash of vanilla.

Another variation that is super delicious is to use a high quality hot chocolate mix. My favorite is the Dagoba Xochitl hot chocolate. You can try another hot chocolate and add a very small amount of cayenne. It tastes like a chocolate mousse, yet only takes 2 minutes to make!

A few summers ago I was writing a math book, and this was my brain and body food. I went through anywhere from a cup to 1 pint a day. 1T = 6 g of fat. Can you calculate how many grams of fat in a serving? Needless to say, I gained 13 pounds that summer… and loved every bit of it. 🙂

If you have a favorite recipe, or you want to experiment, please share it with us. You can also literally share it by bringing it to class. We’d love to taste your wonderful creations, and what a fun way to learn about fractions. (You knew I was going to tie it into math, didn’t you?)

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