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ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE

James Stevenson

LEARNING ARITHMATIC FROM A


MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE

BY

JAMES STEVENSON
JUNE 2007

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................7
OBSTICLES TO LEARNING MATH-----------------------------------------------------------6
PURPOSE FOR STUDYING MATH: ..................................................................14
TWO BASIC RULES...........................................................................................15
LEARNING THE ALPHABET AND HOW TO COUNT........................................16
MODEL THEORY ...............................................................................................17
BREAKING PATTERNS .....................................................................................24
MULTIPLICATION ..............................................................................................36
DIVISION ............................................................................................................63
WHAT IS A FRACTION? ....................................................................................71
DECIMALS .........................................................................................................79
EQUIVILANTS ....................................................................................................81
FRACTIONS TO DECIMAL EQUIVILENTS........................................................83
PERCENT...........................................................................................................89
WORD PROBLEMS............................................................................................94
METRIC ..............................................................................................................97
BASIC GEOMETRY..........................................................................................100
ALGEBRA.........................................................................................................106
INTEGERS .......................................................................................................109
CONCLUSION ..................................................................................................113
COPYRIGHT ....................................................................................................115

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INTRODUCTION
I originally worked as a Petroleum Engineer for twelve years prior to entering the
teaching profession. My first teaching positions were in federal and provincial
prisons. As a result my approach to math is different than most and different to
the way that I was taught
When I first started teaching in the prisons, I would have students come to me
and prove that they have grade ten math yet they cannot do their multiplication
tables. My first response was to blame the school system for passing
incompetent people, so I would re-teach these students the way that I was
taught. We would make slow but positive progress and all would be happy
thinking that we were successful. After being released from prison, they would
re-offend and be back in prison again within six to eight months. This time when
I interviewed them, they had forgotten all that they had learned. Only this time I
would use the excuse that it was the drugs that made them forget every thing it
couldnt have been my teaching. Again the inmate would be released and would
return within the year. This time he may remember a little more but still had
forgotten most. What would we use for an excuse this time? The easiest excuse
was that maybe the student was just dumb and would never be able to do
math. After this happened many times, it was getting harder to convince the
student that this was not true. Slowly, it became obvious that the method that we
use to teach math does not work for many. So a different action was required. I
reverted to the inverse model theory. Instead of me teaching them the same way
over and over again, let them teach me how they do math. If the questions are
phrased correctly, all the students had a coping method of deriving the correct
answers. I started seeing patterns in their coping methods and I was able to
refine some of them for the students.
Math has been taught through memorization. We memorize: additions,
subtractions, multiplication tables, formulas and procedures as thousands of
unrelated rules and data rather than seeing how it is all related into one big
model. So stop memorization! Look for the patterns. Looking for patterns is one
of the few transferable skills that students will retain after you leave college.
Another block to learning math was the students patterns of failure and the
threats and stigma attached to failure. The brain just shuts down and goes into
protection mode rather than using its power to be successful and creative. Most
students have been told that they must work hard to learn math, so they work
harder and harder just to prove to them selves that math is hard. By showing that
math can be easy we can remove the fear that math has to be hard. The easy
lazy method is the only way many will overcome their years of learned failure
patterns.

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OBSTICLES TO LEARNING MATH
The mind can play many tricks on us. Some of the false beliefs and experiences
that we have had can prevent us from reaching our potential. To illustrate this
lets look at an example. If I were to lay a 2x12 plank that is 15 long on the floor,
very few people would have trouble walking from one end to the other. In fact
most would have no problem doing it blindfolded. Some could even do
somersaults from one end to the other. If we lifted the plank 3 feet off the ground
a few people would get nervous and may fall. Most wouldnt do somersaults. If
we raised the same plank 50 feet into the air, most people would be nervous
about crossing the same plank in any form. What has changed? The plank has
stayed the same merely the environment has changed. Fear of falling effects our
ability to succeed.
Another example is an experiment conducted at UBC in 2006. The purpose of
the study was to determine how certain beliefs effect health and whether certain
information should be released to the public. The experiment took 160 UBC
female students at random. They were broken down into four groups. Each
group was given essays to read prior to writing the math entrance exams for
UBC. The first essay talked about how females lacked a math gene that was
recently discovered.. The second group read about the fact that females did not
do as well as males in math was because of the environment in which our society
treats females. The third group read that there is no evidence what so ever to
indicate whether males or females will score higher on math exams. The fourth
and control group read an essay about comparing art. The first group that falsely
believed there was a gene responsible for their ability to do math score 50%
lower than the control group. These false beliefs were only held for a short while
and not reinforced. Imagine how false beliefs that are held for years and have
been reinforced for 20 years would effect ones ability to do math.
Another example many of us have is public speaking. We can talk to a friend or
small group of friends without any problems, But stick a mike and 100 people in
front of us and we act like we are just learning to speak. What is the difference?
We are saying the same thing. Fear prevents our ability for success.
We have all encountered bumps along the math highway. From these we have
created our own false beliefs that prevent us from doing as well as we should.
Some of these false beliefs have been reinforced by parents, teachers, peers
and of course our own feelings of incompetence.
Most of our problems are created because teachers insist that we memorize
adding, subtracting multiplication tables and division. This was the method that
they used to learn math but it is very limited in the understanding of math. Many
elementary teachers never understood the concepts of math. They were only
capable of memorization to pass tests. Those of us with poorer memories did
poorly and thus reinforced our false beliefs. Others may have been traumatized

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by other events while growing up. These events sapped our energy for learning.
An extreme example of this was one student that slowly learned to add but
absolutely could not subtract. We spent several weeks trying to subtract, Once
we started making progress, it would be totally forgotten the next day. In
frustration, I decided that he should learn multiplication. Over a moderate period
of time, the process of multiplication was accomplished and we proceeded onto
division. But division requires subtraction. Because it was called division he was
able to accomplish division without realizing that he was subtracting. The trauma
associated in his life with learning subtraction prevented him from learning
subtraction, yet he was able to learn more complex arithmetic because there
wasnt the fear associated with it.
We all carry some of these debilitating beliefs to some degree or another. We
must become aware of them and do our best to minimize or eliminate them. It is
like carrying around a lot of extra weight while climbing ladders.

PURPOSE FOR STUDYING MATH:


Ninety-five percent of people will never ever use math once they have learned
arithmetic ( knowing how to add, subtract, multiply, divide and do some simple
fractions). The other five percent may use more math in the sciences and
technologies. And if they cannot do math in their head they will use a calculator
anyway. The discipline of math is merely a tool used to learn how to learn. It is
the study of learning the relationships between different factors or functions. It is
the ability to learn how to identify and solve problems. This is the invaluable
transferable skill that will be used in latter life. It can be used to exercise the
mind similar to working out in the gym exercises the body. Many enjoy working
out in the gym but nobody is going to apply for a job stacking weights. Pushing
weights is to the body as learning math is to the mind.
TWO BASIC RULES
With the exception of geometry, trigonometry and calculus, all math can be
broken down into adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing and doing fractions.
Everything else in math can be broken down into these five principles. These five
principles can be broken down into two simple rules. One: knowing how to
count; and two; knowing how to be lazy. Being lazy and knowing how to be lazy
are two different things. To be lazy one must understand the relationship
between things and find short-cuts. If math creates problems for you which one
is a problem for you; knowing how to count or being lazy?

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LEARNING THE ALPHABET AND HOW TO COUNT.
Think about how children learn the alphabet and how they learn to count. Most
children can learn the alphabet and how to count to ten by the age of two and a
half or three. But most children cannot learn to count to one hundred until they
are five or six. The question arises; why is it easier to learn twenty-six characters
than it is to learn ten numbers? The alphabet is learned by rote and by rhyming
songs. They have no idea what an A, B", or a C are but they can rhyme them
off. To learn how to count to one hundred, one would have to learn one hundred
numbers until one realizes that they only have to learn to count to ten and the
pattern repeats itself. Young childrens brains have not yet developed the ability
to recognize the more complex patterns of repletion.
We all know and use alphabetical order to file material or look up information that
is filed alphabetically. However, if I were to ask, what is the fifth letter after P?
What is the letter and how did you find it? Now what is the fifth letter before P?
How did you find it? Could you use the same technique? Was it easy? If you
had to do this often how would you do it so you could do it faster? If I were to
ask what is the fifth number after 10 you would have no problem. And if I were
to ask what is the fifth number before 10 you also would have no problem. Why?
We see numbers in relationship to one-another. The relationship to the letters is
different, yet we all file things or look thing up in alphabetical order.

MODEL THEORY
We all use models, consciously or unconsciously, to predict an outcome or
measure something. This is what math is and does. Models can be useful and
good, but unless we recognize the models that we use they can be just as
limiting as beneficial. When I worked as a Petroleum Engineer, we used a
commonly accepted model to predict the life and productivity of and oil and gas
wells. The problem with the current model was that we only directly measured
two of about twelve parameters that affect the productivity of a well. We needed
all the parameters to do the calculations. Some parameters could be measured
from other sources and others had to be estimated. If we estimated correctly, we
received a good correlation; if not, we were out tens of millions of dollars. An
Engineer that I worked with stated that if the model can be reversed and still be
true then maybe it is true; otherwise probably not. He recognized that we were
forcing the data to fit the model. Inversely we should make the model fit the data.
He created a new model or series of models that gave much more realistic
outcomes.
The education model forces the students to fit the memorization model, rather
than creating a model to fit the student. Many students do not fit the educational
model, thirty percent of the students entering grade one do not complete grade

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twelve. Of the remaining seventy percent, half will forget most of what they
learned within two years. We as educators are trying to force the students to fit a
model that does not wok for them. We must rethink the educational model to fit
the students rather than the other way around.
Most of our students have had bad experiences with math and they have not fit
into our model of math education otherwise they would not be returning to
upgrade or redo their math. Brain research indicates that when the mind is
experiencing stress, parts of the brain not needed for survival shut down and
adrenaline is released into the brain to ensure survival and thus minimizing
learning. Brain research indicates that the brain is constantly capable of
learning. Within the brain, new dendrites grow every time learning takes place.
When learning takes place the axioms release endorphins and the body has a
feeling of pleasantness and euphoria. The brain craves positive stimulation. It
always craves new a challenge; not more dreary memorization.
The model that we use to teach math does not stimulate the brain if we get
students to memorize timetables, additions, and rules. Constant repetition of long
sums and divisions quietly lull the mind to sleep. Internal or external stress is put
on the students that dont fit into our educational model of memorization. If the
student looked for a new relationship each time there would be a positive
stimulation and enhance learning. The majority of students will never use math
again once they learn to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and do fractions. The
exceptions are those going on to the technologies and the sciences So the
question is why do we make students sit in class for twelve years learning
something that they will never use? The reason is because math trains people to
learn and to see the relationships between things, i.e. Problem solving. So why
do we get them to memorize every thing? If students cannot memorize rules they
become frustrated and if they do memorize the rules they forget them shortly
after the exam. So whats the point?
I dont want any student to memorize anything. I want them to learn how to be
creative.. To do that one must look for patterns and relationships. This forces the
mind to look at things differently and is rewarded when the endorphins are
released. Most students are told to work hard but when they do, they get tired
and then they make mistakes, then they get frustrated and make more mistakes
before they decide and prove to themselves that math is hard. The brain gets
stressed and releases adrenaline and treats math as a negative to be avoided.
We must look at teaching math from a different perspective.
What is meant by knowing how to count and by being lazy? If one wanted to
add two numbers, one could start counting from one number to the next. E.g. To
add 8+7, we can start counting at 8 until we count 7 more numbers and arrive at
15. But if we want to add 3,284,789 + 2,0325,498, we have to find a short cut or
a lazier way because it is going to take us too long to count that high and we
would probably make three or more mistakes. If we want to subtract 8-5, we

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could start at 8 and count backwards 5 places until we arrived at 3. But it would
be easier to ask what do we need to add to 5 to get 8. Either way the answer is
three. It is easier to count forward than backwards. To multiply 3 x 4, we could
rewrite it as 3+3+3+3=12 or 4+4+4 =12. So multiplication is just a series of
additions only it is easier to write 3 x 4 than 4+4+4=. But we need short cuts to
make it easier and quicker. Division is just a series of subtractions.
For example: if 4 grade one kids returned $13 worth of pop bottles, how would
they divide the money?

?
4 13
-4
9
-_4
5
-_4
1

1
2
3
3 +( 1 4 ) = 3

Division is just a series of subtractions. 13 minus 4 leaves 9. 9 minus 4 leaves 5.


5 minus 4 leaves 1. So 4 can be subtracted from 13, 3 times. But what do we do
with the $1 left over. We can rewrite divide as . What does the top dot stand for
in the sign? What does the bottom dot stand for? The top dot represents the
numerator and the bottom dot represents the denominator. The bar represents
divide or a number split that many ways. A fraction is the top dot or numerator
divided by the bottom dot or denominator. 1 divided by 4. 1 is the numerator and
4 is the bottom dot or denominator 14=1/4 Or $1 is split 4 ways is a quarter.
We can now add, subtract, multiply, divide and do fractions just by knowing how
to count and be lazy. With the exception of geometry, what else is there to
know in math?
Knowing when to use a short cut or not comes with experience. It is also a
function of how much time is available. An analogy would be if a carpenter had
to cut a piece of wood 3 by 2 by with two holes. One is 5/8 and the
other . It takes five minutes to make one piece. But if he had to make 300
pieces it would take him 1500 minutes to make all of them. But if he spent 2
hours making a jig that would allow him to make the pieces in two minutes each,
he would save 1500 (600 + 120) = 880 minutes. Therefore it is worthwhile
spending time developing a jig. If he only had to make four pieces, it would not
be worth his while. Making jigs is similar to finding short cuts. Short cuts to
adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing are worthwhile. It is important for the
students to find their own jigs or short cuts. If they create them for them selves
they can be easily recreated again if they are forgotten. Also creating new short
cuts trains the mind to look for new patterns.

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BREAKING PATTERNS
Patterns can be broken and encourage students to look for new patterns by a
simple exercise. First ask the students to make up a six digit number
234587,eg. Then ask for another six-digit number. 452635,eg. Then add another
six-digit number of our own, 765412,eg. Then ask the students for another six
digit, 852369,eg. Again follow this with one of our own, 147630,eg. Write them in
a column and ask them to quickly add the numbers.
234587
452635
765412
852369
147630
The answer is obviously 2452632. Why? What patterns were followed?
If one adds rows 1 and 3 the answer is 999999. If one adds rows 4 and 5, one
gets 999999 also. Adding these two answers our total is 1,999,998 or 2,000,000
minus 2. If we add that total to row number two (452,635) our answer is obviously
2,452,633. Instead of always adding the columns, lets look at alternatives.
If those numbers were too complex to start out with then lets look at a simpler set
of numbers.
09
18
27
36
45
54
63
72
81
90
What patterns are apparent here?
We can see that if we add 9 to each subsequent number, we get the next
number in the sequence. 18+ 9= 27, 27+9=36 etc. Or we could say that this is
the nine times tables. This can be used to learn or to remember or double check
our nine times tables.
We notice the sequence 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0 going up the column and again down
the next column.
We notice that 09 written backwards is 90
We notice that 18 written backwards is 81
We notice that 27 written backwards is 72
We notice that 36 written backwards is 63
We notice that 45 written backwards is 54

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We also note that:: 18 =
27 =
36 =
45 =
54 =
63 =
72 =
81 =

1+8=9
2+7=9
3+6=9
4+5=9
5+4=9
6+3=9
7+2=9
8+1=9

Again we can use this information to check our nine times tables. The digits in
our answer must add to 9
We also note that we can add on the diagonal
1+9=10,
2+8=10
3+7=10
4+6=10
5+5=10
6+4=10 etc
Also
8+0=8
7+1=8
6+2=8
5+3=8
4+4=8
Etc
But this information is not really useful

Another interesting pattern of the 9 times table is:


0 x 9 +8 = 8
9 x 9 + 7 = 88
98 x 9 + 6 = 888
987 x 9 + 5 = 8888
9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888
98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888
987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888
9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888
98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888
987654321 x 9 1 = 8888888888
9876543210 x 9 2 = 88888888888
What would the next numbers in the series be?

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Getting back to our 9 times tables;
09
18
27
36
45
54
63
72
81
90
Now quickly add up these numbers. The answer should quickly be seen as 495
why?

Instead of adding 9+8+7+6 etc. we can add groupings of tens

09
18
27
36
45
54
63
72
81
90

a
b
c
d

a
b
c
d

30
40

9+1=10
8+2=10
7+3=10
6+4=10
= 40
Plus 5 more = 45

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A easier method is to:
09
18
27
36
45
54
63
72
81
90
45
45
495

5X9=45

Why does this work?


A quicker method would be to notice that 5 is the middle number and we have 9
of them by looking at them from a different perspective.
09 = 5+4
18 = 5+3
27 = 5+2
36 = 5+1
45 = 5+0
54 = 5+4
63 = 5 -2
72 = 5 -3
81 = 5 -4
45=45+0

6=5 + 1
4=5 1
7=5 + 2
3=5 2
8=5 + 3
2=5 3
9=5 + 4
1=5 4
5=5 + 0
45 =45+0

Other examples of adding a series are:


9+8+7=3 x 8=24
3+4+5=3 x 4=12
1+2+3+4+5=5 x 3=15
An other method of adding this column quickly is to add the first row and the last
row to get
09 +90 =99
18 + 81=99
27 + 72=99
36 + 63=99
45 + 54=99
5 x 99 = 495

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09
18
27
36
45
54
63
72
81
90
495
LEARNING ADDIDTION
Adding can be simplified for some who do not want nor have the skills to
memorize their addition flash cards.
7+8 = 7+7=14+1=15
Or
7+8=8+8=16 1=15
This works for numbers that are close together. For some reason people
remember the sum of pairs.
Some prefer to break the numbers into functions or bases of 5s
7
+8
15

= 5+2
= 5 +3
=10+5=15

This is fairly cumbersome but necessary for some. Most can use a base of 10.
7
+8
15

7 + 3=10
8 3=5
15+0 = 15

What must be added to 7 to make 10 ?


So we must subtract 3 from 8 =5

--- 3

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Or
What must be added to 8 to complete the 10 ? ----= 2
So we must subtract 2 from the 7 = 5
7
+8
15

72 =5
8 + 2 =10
15 + 0= 15

8
+7

8 + 2 = 10
= 7
17 2 = 15

OR

We take the 8+ 2 more to make 10 plus the 7 = 17 minus the 2 that we added in
is equal to 15.
If one already knows their addition, these are cumbersome methods. However
by looking at these coping methods, one can identify patterns of coping to
transfer and to apply to more complex problems. We are learning transferable
coping skills for future use.
MULTIPLICATION
MULTIPLICATION TABLES SHOULD NOT BE MEMORIZED ; BUT SHOULD
BE SEEN IN RELATIONSHIP TO EACH OTHER. The students will eventually
learn or memorize the times tables because it is easier. However the times
tables should be memorized as a secondary method not as a primary method of
learning. They need a primary method that they can always revert back to if their
memory temporarily fails them. If a student does not know their times tables
down pat, I get them to fill out a blank times table form.

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1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15

10

15

20

20

30

40

5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
60
65
70
75

10
11
12
13
14
15
20
30
40
30 35 40 45
50
55
60
65
70
75
60
70
80
90
60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150
110
120
130
140
150

The students are asked to fill in the blank spots. They are asked how they
completed the table. What relationships did they use and what relationships can
they find. Now they know that they can do the times tables on their own. Once
they have completed the table, and we know that they can figure them out on
their own, we take it and crumple the paper up and throw it away. This gives the
student the confidence that they can do times tables. We just have to find quicker
and easier methods of recalling the times tables.
The nine times tables create a lot of problems, yet they are one of the easiest.
Here are some different coping methods of approach:
1)
9 x 7 =?
We know
10 x 7= 70
10 groups of 7
so
9 groups of 7 would be
10 x 7 = 70 7 =63
one group of 7 less than 70 = 63

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2)

ALTERNATIVE METHOD
9
x7
?

9
x7
We subtract 1 from 7 = 6 ?

9
X7
6?
We can now subtract the 6 from the 9 =3
The answer is
63
3)

A THIRD METHOD

The easiest method for most is the finger method. Start by placing our hands
face up and fingers out . Let the Os represent the open fingers and the Xs
represent the finger that is folded over.

1 x 9 is formed by folding the left thumb ( X ) in towards the palm. This leaves 9
fingers out. =9
1,2,3,4 5,6,7,8,9
XOOOO OOOOO = 9
1

2 x 9 is formed by folding the first finger in towards the palm This leaves the
1thumb up to the left of the first finger and 8 fingers to the right of the first finger.
1 + 1,2,3, 4,5,6,7,8
OXOOO OOOOO
=1 and 8 = 18
12

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3 x 9 is formed by folding in the middle finger. This leaves the thumb and first
finger or 2 digits to the left of the second finger and 7 fingers to the right of the
second finger.
1,2 +1,2, 3,4,5,6,7
OOXOO OOOOO = 2 and 7 = 27
123
4 x 9 is formed by folding in the ring finger. This leaves 3 fingers to the left of the
ring finger and 6 fingers to the left.
1,2,3 +1 2,3,4,5,6
OOOXO OOOOO = 3 and 6 = 36
1234
5 X 9 is formed by folding the baby finger down. This leaves 4 fingers to the left
and 5 to the right
1,2,3,4 + 1,2,3,4,5
OOOOX OOOOO = 4 and 5 = 45
6 x 9 is formed by folding in the left baby finger. This leaves 5 fingers on the left
hand and 4 on the right hand.
1,2,3,4,5 + 1,2,3,4
OOOOO XOOOO = 5 and 4 = 54
7 x 9 is formed by folding in the left ring finger. This leaves 6 on the left and 3
on the right of the right ring finger.
1,2,3,4,5,
OOOOO

6 +1,2,3
OXOOO

= 6 and 3 = 63

8 X 9 is formed by folding in the right middle finger. This leaves 7 fingers to the
left and 2 to the right of the right middle finger.
1,2,3,4,5, 6,7+ 1,2
OOOOO OOXOO = 7 and 2 = 72
9 X 9 is formed by folding in the right pointing finger. This leaves 8 fingers to the
left and 1 to the right of the right pointing finger.
1,2,3,4,5 6,78, +1
OOOOO OOOXO = 8 and 1 = 81

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7AND 8 TIMES TABLES GIVE THE MOST PROBLEMS TO THE MOST
PEOPLE
There are several methods that can be used. If we want to multiply.
7 X 8 =?
We know that 8 is = 4 X 2; so we can rewrite the equation as:
8 = (2 X 4) X 7 = ?
We know that :
4 X 7=28
Now we multiply :
2 X 28 = 56

OR
Another method is :
7X8=?
We know our 5 times tables by counting
5 x : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,12, 13, 14,15,16,17, 18
5,10,15,20,25,30,35,40,45, 50,55, 60, 65,70, 75, 80, 85, 90
7x8=?
We know
5 x 8 = 40
And we need 2 more groups of 8
2 x 8 = 16
Adding together, we get
40 + 16 = 56
So 7 groups of 8 =
7 x 8 = 56

OR
A more awkward but equally valid method to find 7 x 8 =? is similar to finding 9 x
7= 63 (We went 10 x 7 =70 minus 7 gave 63). Likewise 8 x7 = 9 x 7 = 63 minus
7 = 56
We can go from a known multiplication to an unknown multiplication by adding or
subtracting one group of the number being multiplied.

OR
The 6 Times tables can be based on the 5 times tables also.
6x7=?
5x:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 , 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13


5, 10,15,20,25,30,35,40,45,50, 55, 60, 65,

5 x 7 = 35
plus one more group of sevens
1x7= 7
6 x 7 = 35 +7 = 42

20 of 52

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson

OR
A method most people find useful once they get the hang of it, is to put both
hands face up with fingers pointing at each other. On both hands:
The thumbs represents 10
The pointer fingers represents 9
The middle fingers represents 8
The ring fingers represents 7
The baby fingers represents 6

Left Hand
Thumb

Right Hand

10

10 thumb

Pointer

Middle
Ring
Baby

9 Pointer
8

Middle Finger
7

Ring Finger
6

Baby Finger

To multiply 7 x 8, we touch together the 7 finger ( ring finger) on our left hand to
the 8 finger( middle ) on the right hand. This leaves 5 fingers below the 7 & 8
fingers. This gives us our 5 towards the answer. We have 3 fingers above the 7
finger on the left hand and we have 2 fingers above the 8 finger on the right
hand. We now multiply the
3 x 2 = 6. The 5 and the 6 are combine to yield the answer 56. The description
is harder than the answer.

1
2
3

Thumb

10

Pointer

Middle

Baby

=6

8
Ring

7
6

10
9

Middle
7

Ring
6

7 x 8 = 56

21 of 52

Baby

Thumb
Pointer

1
2

5 Fingers
Touching

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson

OR
8
x7
?
8 x7 can be rewritten with a 10 off to one side as:
10

8
X7
5

-2
-3
, 6

We start by subtracting 8 from 10 leaving 2


And by subtracting 7 from the 10 leaving 3
Now multiply the 2 X 3 gives us the 6
Next, we subtract the 3 from the 8 or we subtract 2 from the 7. Both will give us
the 5
The result is 56

This methods works for any number. However if we are using a two-digit
number, we use 100 instead of 10.
100

94
6
X97
3
91 + 18

Since 94 is a double digit we use 100 as our base.


First we subtract 94 from 100 giving us 6
Next we subtract 97 from 100 giving us 3
We multiply the results of our subtracting 6 x 3 = 18
Now we subtract the 3 from the diagonal number 94 3 = 91
Or we can subtract the 6 from the other diagonal 97 - 6 = 91
As we can see both subtractions on the diagonal will yield the same answer = 91
The final answer is 9,118
The question is why does it work every time? What limitations does it have ?

22 of 52

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson
If the numbers are larger than the base of 10 or 100 we add rather than subtract.
Ie.
12
+2
x 14 +4
16
8
12 is 2 more than 10
14 is 4 more than 10
We add 4 to the 12 OR add 2 to the 14 either will give 16
We now multiply the 2 x 4 to give us the 8
We combine the answers to give 168

If one number is above the base and the other is below, we add or subtract
To illustrate:
8 x14 = ?
8
x14

-2
+4

12
-8
120 -8 =112
8 is 2 less than 10
-2
14 is 4 more than 10
+4
We add -2 to 14 to give 12
Or we add +4 to 8 which also gives 12
We now multiply the (-2) x (+4) which yields -8
The 12 represents the number in the 10s column or 120
We now combine the 120 and (-8) = 120 8 = 112
So 8 x 14 = 112

So if we wanted 96 x 108, we can use the same principle.


96
108
104

-4
+8
-32

96 is 4 less than 100


108 is 8 more than 100
We add on the diagonal 108 + (-4) =112
Similarly , we could add on the diagonal 96 + 8 =112
The 104 represents the 100s column or 10400
We now combine the 10400 and the (-32) to yield 10368

23 of 52

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson

THE 11 TIMES TABLES


The 11 times tables are very easy. Everybody can do 7 x 11 = 77 but if we ask:
27 x 11 = ?
Normally we write
27
x11
27
270
297

Here is where we deviate. If we add the first column as per normal and then
skip over to the third column we get
27
x11
27
270
2__7
This leaves us with a 2 and a ,7 the same number we started with 27. Next
we add the middle column which is a 2 and a 7, the same number we started
with 27. So why not just add the 2 to the 7 = 9 and stick it in the middle of
27

7 = 297
3+4=7
34
x11
374

However
67
x11
6137

67
x11
67
670
737

24 of 52

6+7=13

is not

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson
When the two digits add to 10 or more the tens digit carries over to the
hundreds column.
6+7=13
67
x11
737
Any number can be multiplied by eleven using this process.
26495
x11
2695

245
x11
2695

4+5 =9

2+4=6

MULTIPLES OF 11 CAN BE DONE IN OUR HEADS


4106
x11
506
Since 22 is 2 x 11, doubling the 23 gives us 46. And 46 x 11 = 506
23
X22

2 x 23 = 46
x11

6159
x11
759
By tripling the 11 we get 33 and by tripling the 23 we get 69. 69 x 11 = 759
23
x33

3 x 23 =69
x11

MULTIPLES OF 25 CAN BE DONE IN OUR HEADS


When we want to multiply by 25, we should look at what 25 represents rather
than taking 25 at face value. If we dont like the number s we have; change
them into one of equal value that are easier to work with. 25 has the same
value as 100 4 = 25 OR 25 100 = .25 = 1 / 4 x100
36
x25 = ( 100 4 )= 25
?

25 of 52

36 x 100= 3600 4 = 900

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson
OR
Another way of looking at the same question is:
36
x25

x( 25 100 ) = .25 =

x 36 = 9

9x100 =900

When 25 is divided by 100, we get .25 or 1/4. A of 36 is 9 and multiply the


100 back in to give 900
If we want:
36
x26
?

36
x25
900

900 + 36 =936

Multiply the 36 by 25 =900 and add one more group of 36s


SIMILARILY 24 times a number
36
x24
?

36
x25
900

900 + 36 =936

900 36 = 864

Multiply 36 by 25 and subtract one group of 36.


MULTIPLYING BY 75 OR 50
Multiplying by 50 or 75 is the same as multiplying by 25 only 2 or 3 time bigger.
36
x75
?

36
x25
900

x3
x3 = 2700

OR
36
x75
?

36 x = 27

26 of 52

x 100 = 2700

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson
MULTIPLING BY 5
5 can be rewritten with an equivalent value of 5 = 10 2
A large number can be simplified by multiplying by 10 and dividing by 2
46824
x 5
234120

x 10 = 468240
2
234120

Inversely dividing by 5 can be achieved by multiplying by 2 and dividing by 10


Dividing by 5 is the same as multiplying by 1/5
So 1/5 = 2/10
234120 5 = ?

234120 10 =23412 x 2 =46824


OR

123456 5 =

123456 10 = 12345.6 x 2 = 24691.2

MULTIPLYING AND DIVIDING BY 125


648
x125
?
If we divide the 125 by 1000 we get .125 which is =1/8
We multiply 648 x 1/8 =81 then x 1000 =81000
4512
x 125

9753
x125

x 1/8 =564 x1000=564,000

9753 x 1/8 = 1219 1/8 x 1000 = 1,219,125

27 of 52

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson
Similarly if we want to divide by 125 , we would multiply by 8 and divide by
1000
8/1000=125

125 234 =

234
= 1.872 OR 234 X 8 = 1872
125

then divide by 1000= 1.872

FINDING THE SQUARE OF ANY NUMBER THAT IS A MULTIPLE OF 5


Finding squares of numbers that are multiples of 10s is easy ; just square the
first number. For example 30 2 = (3 10) 2 = 3 2 10 2 = 9 100 = 900
To find the squares of 5, 15, 25, 35, 45, 55, ..95,105, 115. We take the
number preceding the 5 and multiply it by the next number on the number line
Eg. 35 2 = 3 x 4 + 25 = 12 + 25 = 1225 0r 3x4=12 plus 5 2 = 25 gives 1225
45 2 = 4 5 = 20 plus 5 2 = 25 = 2025
85 2 = 8 9 = 72 + 5 2 = 7225
115 2 = 11 12 = 132 + 5 2 = 13225

FINDING THE SQUARE OF ANY DOUBLE DIGIT NUMBER


312 = 31X 31 = ?
To find the square of any two-digit number we remember :
(A +B)2 = (A + B)(A+B) = A2 + 2AB +B2
(31)(31) = (30 + 1)( 30 + 1) = 302 + 2(30)(1) +12 = 900 +60 +1 =961
66 = (65 + 1) = 65 + 2(65)(1) + 12 = 4225 + 130 + 1 = 4356
With practice these can be done in ones head.
2

To keep the numbers simpler, it may be easier to subtract rather than add.

64 = (65 1) = 65 2(65)(1) + 1 = 4225 130 + 1 = 4096

28 of 52

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson
MULTIPLYING DOUBLE DIGIT NUMBERS THAT ARE CLOSE TO EACH
OTHER:
To multiply two numbers that are close to each other and have a difference
between each other that is equal, we use the difference of squares formula.
(A + B)(A B) = A2 B2
43
x37

40 + 3
40 3

A=40
37= 40 3

B=3

43=A+B
A-B

(A B)(A + B)
( 40 3 )( 40 + 3) = 402 32 = 1600 9 = 1591

69
x 71

70 1
70 + 1

(70 + 1)( 70 1) = 702 12 = 4900 1 = 4899

DIVISION
Division is the number of times that the divisor can be subtracted from the
dividend 13 4 = ?
This can be written as:
?
4 13
-4 1 once
9
2 times
-4
5
3 times
-4
1
The 1 still has to be divided; so we rewrite it as 1 4 =
In the what does the top dot represent? It is for the numerator or the
1 goes on top
What does the bar represent? It means divide or split
What does the bottom dot represent? It represents the denominator or the
4
1
1 4 can be rewritten as
, which we call one quarter.
4
This requires too much work but it is possible for anyone to do.

29 of 52

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson
An easier method must be found. We know that we can write division three
different ways.
1
14= 4 1 =
4

We know that if we have six bottles of beer out of a dozen, we can write it as:

6
1

12
2

We have all had enough beer to know that this is the correct answer

What we did was divide 6 by 12 to give us


OR we reduced the first fraction 6/12 to a lower or simpler fraction of by
dividing the numerator and divisor each by 6 . Similarly we can rewrite
3
75
3
4
75
4848
1212
303
64 4848

4 = 64 4848
64
16
4
1
4848
64
1212
16

can be reduced by 4 and

can be reduced by 4 also etc. etc.

Instead of dividing by a large number we can gradually reduce the divisor and the
dividend by equal increments
This is only possible if the divisor and the dividend are reducible by the same
factors. We may only be able to reduce the divisor by one or two steps, but even
that makes for an easier division. If the divisor is a prime number then we need
another method.

30 of 52

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson
TO DIVIDE BY A PRIME NUMBER :
To divide a number like:
19 875735 There is no obvious easy method to do this because 19 is a prime
number and cannot be factored by definition.
Therefore we can draw a line like a ruler and mark both ends with 0 to19 on the
bottom and 0 to 10 on the top
0________________5________________10
0
9.5
19
We look at the first number in our dividend and we see that it is an 8. We
determine where the 8 would fit on the bottom scale and that would correspond
to a 4 on the top scale.

0____________4____5________________10
0
8
9.5
19
4
19 875735
76
11

11 is our next number

Next we position the 11 on the bottom scale and find the it corresponds to a 6 on
the top scale
0____________
0

5____6___________10
9.5 11
19

46
19 875735
76
115
114
1

0___1_________
5_______________10
0 1
9.5
19

31 of 52

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson
Since the 1on the bottom is less than the 1 on the top scale, we choose the 0
460
19 875735
76xxx
115
114
173
This leaves us with a 17 to put on the bottom scale and we find that corresponds
with a 9 on the top scale
0____________
0

5___________
9___10
9.5
17
19

4609
19 875735
76xxx
115
114
173
171
2

5___________
0__1__________
0
2
9.5

46091. 6/19
19 875735
76xxxx
115
114
173
171
25
19
6

32 of 52

___10
19

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson
This method is not any different from the regular long division except that we now
have a method guesstimating which numbers to use. How and why does it
work?
WHAT IS A FRACTION?
What does say?

says:

1. 1 2 =1/2
1/ 2
2. 2 1
3. 0.5 =1/2
4. 50% =1/2
5. 1:2 ratio
6. 1 part out of 2
7. 1 over 2
says all seven of these things and we want to be able to use any of the
seven different transformations to make it easier. E.g.
10 x = 10 x (1 2) =10 x 1 = 10 2 = 5
By translating math into English, this says 10 times 1 ( numerator) divided
by 2 (denominator)
When we multiply two whole numbers together we get a bigger
number.
When we multiply a number by a fraction we get a smaller number.
Why?
x = 1 4 = x 1 =1/4 2= 1/8
In English this says 1 divided by 4 equals multiplied by 1 (numerator)
and divided by 4 (denominator) However this is clumsy so lets try an
easier method. We get the same results if we multiple numerator times
numerator and divide by the product of denominator times denominator.
x=
1 x 1 =1
( 4 x 2) = 8 = 1/8
Visually, if we have 1 unit and divide it into 4 we get;
1
2
3
4

0
0

2/4

33 of 52

4/4
1

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson
If we divide the s in half we get
0

1/8

3/8

5/8

7/8

8/8

Multiplying mixed numbers is similar to multiplying double-digit numbers. E.g.


10 x 25 = 10 x ( 20 + 5 ) = (10 x 5) + (10 x 20) = (50) + ( 200) = 250
10 x 2 = 10 x (2 + ) = (10 x 2 ) + (10 x ) = (20) + ( 5) = 25
OR
We can change the fraction into a decimal and multiply by the number.
can be rewritten as decimal 5 or .5 . So
10 x 2.5 = 25 Same thing only different.
However it is often easier to change the mixed numbers to improper numbers.
E.g.
5 x 7 = (5 x 4 =20 +1 = 21/4s ) x (7 x 2 = 14 +1 = 15/2s)
21 15
315

=
= 39 3/8
=
4 2
8
OR

1 3
16 15
=
5 3 =

3 4
3 4
since 3 x 4 = 4 x 3

we can rewrite

16
15
4...... ....... 3
4
3

16 15
16 15

as

3 4
4 3
= 4 x 3 = 12

It is easier to cancel out our numbers as we go to keep the numbers smaller.


If the numbers are convenient, here is an alternate method.

1 1
1
3 x8 = 27
4 3
12
(A+b)(C+d)=

OR
where A=3, b=1/4. C=8, and d=1/3

1
1
1
1
1
1
1
(3 + )(8 + ) = (3)(8) + (3)( ) + (8)( ) + ( )( ) = 24 + 2 + 1 +
= 27
4
3 4
12
12
4
3
3

34 of 52

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson
DIVIDING FRACTIONS
If we divide two numbers into each other the result is a smaller number.
However if we divide a number by a fraction the result is a larger number. Why?
10 = 40
10 2.5
What this says is that if we have a 10-dollar bill and ask to have it changed or
divide it into s we should get 40 quarters back. Since there are 4 quarters in 1
loonie and there are 10 loonies in a ten dollar bill there must be (10 x 4 ) = 40
quarters in a 10 dollar bill.
Larger
smaller
Divisor
answer
10 5
=2
10 4
=2.5
= 3 1/3
10 3
10 2
=5
10 1
= 10
10
= 20
10 1/4
= 40
10 1/8
= 80
smaller
larger
divisor
answer

ADDING AND SUBTRACTING FRACTIONS


Rather than teaching the addition of fractions as something new, lets see what
we already know. How much money do you have if you have:

1 quarter
3dimes
3nickles
7 cents
77 cents

.25
.30
.15
.07
.77

3/10
3/20
7/100

25/100
30/100
15/100
7/100
77/100

Adding up the coins we get 77 cents. No problem if we convert them to decimals


or hundredths, we can add them. If we see them as separate fractions, we must
convert them to a common denominator., which is what we do when we convert
to decimals. And add the numerators. Same thing only different.
When we subtract fractions the same rules apply as adding.
5 = 5 2/4
-3 = -3
2

35 of 52

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson
Only sometimes the numerator of the minuend may be smaller than the
numerator of the number to be subtracted. In this case we just borrow from the
whole number as we do in regular subtraction. E.g.

5 = 5 = 4 +(4/4) + = 4 5/4
-3
-3 = -3 2/4 =
1
The easiest method is to add the common denominator to the numerator of the
minuend and subtract 1 from the whole number of the minuend. This results in
the numerator being large enough to subtract without being negative. This is the
same as getting change back from $5.25 when we spend $3.50. We change the
$5.00 bill to 4 loonies and 4 quarters plus the other $0.25 giving us 4 loonies and
5 quarters.
Some may find an alternate method easier but many dont. It requires the use of
negatives
5 = 5
-3 = -3 2/4
2 =1
5 minus 3 = 2 and minus or 2/4s = negative . The result is 2 minus
=1
DECIMALS
If we divide 13.00 4 = 3.25 OR
13 4 = 3 What is the difference?
Which is worth more? Why do we write it one-way one time and different the next
time? What are the advantages and disadvantages of either?

25
5
1
3 3 =3
100
20
4
A decimal is a fraction with a denominator of 10, 100, 1000, 1,000, 10,000,
100,000, . Etc EXEPT for rule #2 : we are too LAZY to write in the
denominator. It becomes redundant when we know the denominator will be a
factor of 10. I call them metric fractions. Even though there is no such
designation.
Our monetary system is based on decimals, which are factors of tens.
$3.25 tells us that we have three dollars and 2 dimes or 2/10 of a dollar plus 5
cents or 5/100s of a dollar. The 2 represents the 1/10 dollar place the 5
represent the 1/100s of a dollar place etc..

3.25 can be rewritten or reduced as 3

36 of 52

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson
An easy method of reading decimals is to put your pencil on the decimal point
and draw two lines ; one vertical below the decimal point and one horizontal to
the right of the decimal point and add the same number of zeros as we have
numbers to the right of the decimal point

3.25

===

3 25

3 25

00
00
and is read three and twenty five hundredths

25
100

To multiply decimals, we multiply the decimal by a factor of10 and divide the
answer by the same factor of 10.
8
8
8
x(0.5 x 10)= 5
x5
x0.5
40 10 = 4.0
To divide by a decimal, we multiply BOTH the divisor and dividend by the same
factor of 10.

?
2.5 1.25

?
0.5
x
x

2.5
10
1.25
10
25
12.5
(
)

?
?
?
10.2
0.45 4.590 ( 0.45 x100 ) ( 4.590 x100 ) 45 459.0 45 459.0

EQUIVILANTS
A fraction, a decimal, and a percent are all equivalent representations of the
same value.
= 0.25 = 25% are all equal or equivalents
Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. We must be able to convert
back and forth easily.
0.25
1 = 0.25 =25%
= 1 4 =4

0.25 =

25
1
=
100
4

25%=

25
1
=
100
4

=25%

= 0.25

37 of 52

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson
Fractions can be converted to decimals by dividing the numerator by the
denominator (which is the definition of a fraction)
Decimals can be converted to fractions by an easy method. That is to put your
pencil on the decimal point and draw two lines ; one vertical below the decimal
point and one horizontal to the right of the decimal point and add the same
number of zeros as we have numbers to the right of the decimal point. The
numbers to the right of the decimal form the numerator and the horizontal line is
the divide by . The denominator is formed by the vertical line which represents
the 1and the zeros that are added on to form 10s, 100s, 1000s, etc..
A percentage can be converted to a fraction by changing the% sign to 1/100s
and then we have a fraction. Eg 25% is equivalent to 25/100 1 / 4 . The
percentage can be converted directly into a decimal by removing the % sign
and dividing by 100 or by moving the decimal two places to the left.
25
1

25% 25 100
100
4
FRACTIONS TO DECIMAL EQUIVILENTS
There are some common and very useful fraction to decimal equivalents that are
well worth knowing. But it is important to see the pattern rather than memorize
the list.
0.5
We start with = 1 2 = 2 1 =0.5000
A half of is = x =
A half of is = x =1/8
A half of 1/8 is = 1/8 x =1/16

and a half of 0.5000= 0.500 x = 0.2500


and a half of 0.2500 = 0.250 x = 0.125
and a half of 0.125 = 0.125 x = 0.0625

3/8 is found by 3 x 1/8 = 3/8


3/8 is found by 1/8 + = 3/8

and 3 time 0.125 = 0.375


and 0.125 + 0. 250 = 0.375

5/8 is found by + 1/8 = 5/8


is found by + =
7/8 is found by + 1/8 = 7/8

and 0.125 + 0.500 = 0.625


and 0.250 + 0.500 = 0.750
and 0.750 + 0.125 = 0.875

38 of 52

OR

ARITHMATIC FROM A MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVE


James Stevenson

0.33333
The next group starts with 1/3 = 1 3 = 3 1.0000 = 0.33333333333 repeating

2/3 is formed by doubling 1/3


2 x 1/3 = 2/3
1/6 is found by halving 1/3
x 1/3 = 1/6
1/12 is found by halving 1/6
1/6 x = 1/12
1/9 is found by finding a third of 1/3
1/3 x1/3 =1/9
2/9 is found by doubling 1/9
1/9 x 2 = 2/9
49 = 4 x 1/9
0.0909090909
11
1.0000000000
1/11 is found by

and doubling 0.33333 = 0.66666


and halving 0.33333
0.333333 x = 0.166666
and halving 0.166666
0.166666 x = 0.0833333
and a third of 0.3333
0.333333 x 1/3 =0.111111
and doubling 0.111111
2 x 0.111111 = 0.22222
4 x 0.111111 = 0.444444 etc
0.09090909 repeating

2/11 is found by doubling 1/11


2 x 1/11 = 2/11
3 x 1/11 = 3 11
4 x 1/11 = 4/11

2 x 0.090909 =0.18181818
3 x 0.090909 =0. 27272727
4 x 0.090909 = 0.36363636

etc.

1/9 = 0.111111 = 0.11,11,11, factors of elevens


and 1/11 = 0.090909
= 0.09,09,09 factors of nine

IN ORDER
1/32
1/16
1/8

3/8

5/8

7/8

0.03125
0.0625
0.125
0.250
0.375
0.500
0.625
0.750
0.875

1/12
1/11
1/9
1/6
2/11
2/9
1/3
2/3
5/6

0.08333
0.0909090
0.111111
0.166666
0.18181818
0.222222
0.33333
0.66666
0.833333

We also notice that 1/12 = 0.083333 which is the same as 0.83333 = 5/6 only ten
times larger.
10 5
If we multiply 1/12 x 10 =
=
1/12 = 0.08333 x 10 =0.83333
12 6

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We can now do all the fractions or divisions of:
, 1/3s,1/4s, 1/5s, 1/6s, 1/7s,(to follow) 1/8s, 1/9s, 1/10s, 1/11s, 1/12s,
1/6s, and 1/32s.
1/7s are unique and fascinating: First we take the 7 and double it.
1/7 =0.14
we double the 14 = 1/7 =0.1428
We now double the 28 and add the1 from the numerator, which gives us
56 + 1 = 57
1/7 = 0.142857 and this number repeats itself forever.
1/7 = 0.142857142857142857.etc
2/7 can be found by doubling 1/7. 2 x .142857142857 2/7 =0.2857142857.
3/7 can be found by tripling 1/7 or adding 1/7 + 2/7= 3/7 = 0.42857142857etc
4/7 , 5/7 and 6/7s can be found by adding the multiples of 1/7s. however if we
look at the pattern we find a easier method is:
1/7
=
0.1428571428
2/7
=
0.2857142857
3/7
=
0.42857142857
4/7
=
0.5714285714
5/7
=
0.71428571428
6/7
=
0.85714285714
The same sequence repeats itself over and over again. The only difference is
that we start the sequence at the first smallest number 1 and 2/7 with the second
smallest number in the sequence at 2 and 3/7 with the third smallest number in
the sequence 4 And the 4/7 at the fourth smallest number in the sequence at 5
and so on and so .
We can quickly convert other fractions to decimals by combining
?
0.3125
5 1 1
16 5 =
= + = 0.250 + 0.0625 = 0.3125 16
5
16 4 16
PERCENT
The etymology of percent is :
PER means divide or each e.g. miles per hour; dollars per hour; etc
CENT means one hundred 100
So per cent means divide by 100. or for each 100
43
? Rule number #2. People just
So why do we write 43 percent as 43% not
100
got lazier and lazier.

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43
100
43
100
43
100
43
100
43
100
43
100
43 100

43 100

43

0 0 = 43%

43% =

43
100

Initially there are only three types of questions that we can ask in percentages.
What is 75 percent of 12
9 is what % of 12 and
9 is 75% of what number?

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To do this we use ratios to make one fraction the same as another fraction.
9
75
=
We also put the fractions in a box.
12 100

is

12

75

of

100

The box always contains the inserts: is, of, %, and 100 in the same order. By
reading the questions and noticing where the words of, is, % fall in the question.
We insert the numbers appropriately. The 100 always goes in the lower right box.
There should always be two other numbers in the question to appropriately fill in
boxes and we can calculate the third number. Now we just make the two
fractions equal by finding a common denominator. Or by cross multiplying the
two numbers on the diagonal and by dividing by the third number present.
E.g.
What (x) is 75% of 36? The x or unknown goes in the is box and the 75 goes
into the% box. The 36 is next to the of box and goes there.
X

is

36

75

of

100

The 36 is multiplied by the 75 (the two numbers on the diagonal). And divide by
the third number ( 100) 36 x 75 = 900 100 = 9 9 is 75% of 36

OR
What (X) percent is 9 of 36?
9
36

is

X
of

100
9 x 100 = 900 36 = 75 %
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OR
We can reduce the fraction:
9 1
?
1x 25 = 25
= =
=
= 25%
36 4 100 4 x 25 = 100
and fin out how many s in 100

WORD PROBLEMS
Most people have problems with word problems because there are too many
variables to memorize. So we need a easy method of handling word problems.
There are seven steps that can be used too solve almost all word problems.
1 RTFQ
2 What is given?
3 What are we looking for?
4 Draw a diagram.
5 Change the numbers
6 Write and equation and solve
7 Revert back to the original numbers and solve

#1 RTFQ means Read The F ing Question. F stands for Following or Full.
The student has their choice as to what F stands for.
#5 means choosing numbers that are easy to work with and are easy to
visualize.
EG.
If a tank contained 285 liters when it was 5/8s full. How much would it contain if
it were full?
1 RTFQ
2 How much would it contain if it were full?
3 We have 285 liters and 5/8 full
4

5/8 =285

600

=300

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5 If we change the numbers from 285 to 300 and 5/8 to we can see in the
changed numbers would give us. If the tank had 300 when it was half full it
must have 600 when it is full. The answer must be 300 ? =600
Now we have to determine what procedure to use that will give us our
answer. We only have four choices: add, subtract, multiply or divide.
subtraction wont give us the correct answer
300 600
300 + 600
addition wont give us the correct answer
300 x 600
multiplication wont give us the correct answer
300 = 600
we can see that the correct procedure would be to divide
6 285 5/8 = 285 x 8/5 = 456

METRIC
Metric has been used in Canadas monitory system for over a century now. Our
monitory system uses groups of tens. There are 100 cents in a dollar and 10
cents in a dime and 10 dimes in a dollar. The metric system for all forms of
measurement was adopted in Canada in the mid seventies. The French
originally created the metric system about 300 years ago to simplify
measurements in science and trade. A meter was originally defined as one, ten
millionth the distance from the North Pole to the equator. A more precise and
consistent method of measuring this distance is to measure the time that light
travels over the one meter. This time is
1
s of a second. Or, the speed of light is measured at 299,792,458
299, 792, 458
meters per second.
The prefixes kilo, hecta, deca, deci centi, and milli are used for all three base
units. The base units are the meter, liter and gram. Each is broken into factors or
multiples of tens. The different denominations of dollars all have different slang
equivalent terms.
1000
100
10
1
1/10
1/100
1/1000
Grand
c-note
sawbuck
$
dime
cent
mil
Kilo

Hecta

Deca

Meter
Liter
Gram

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A kilometer is 1,000 meters
A meter is 1,000 millimeters or 100 centimeters
or 10 decimeters
A kiloliter is 1,000 liters. A liter is 1,000 milliliters.
A kilogram is 1,000 grams A gram is 1,000 milligrams
A milliliter is also equal to 1 cubic centimeter (1cm3) by definition.
A gram is the mass or weight equal to one milliliter of water at Standard
Temperature and Pressure
There is a direct relationship between linear measurement, volume and mass
(weight). If we know one measurement, we can calculate the other two
measurements, unlike the Imperial system. How many cubic inches in a peck?
To convert metric units of measurement, all we have to do is move the decimal
point the appropriate number of places. To convert 234 centimeters (cm) to
kilometers, we look at the scale and determine that kms are five positions to the
left of cms. So we move the decimal place five places to the left.
234 cm
234. cm =
0.00234 km
5
5
5
Kilo

4
Hecta
0

3
Decca
1

2
Meter
2

1
Deci
3

0
cent
4

milli

To convert 23.12 hectometers, we move the decimal place four places to the
right (in the direction from hectometers to centimeters four units)
23.12 hm

= 23.1200.
4

231,200 cm
.
.
4

Similarly, liters and grams are converted by moving the decimal place left or right
depending on the relative direction the prefix is to be converted.

BASIC GEOMETRY
Rather than memorizing all sorts of formulas, lets look at the similarities among
the different geometric shapes. We need to calculate perimeter, circumference,
area, and volume.
Perimeter is the distance around an object, regardless of how many sides or
shape that the object has. Circumference is the perimeter of a circle or the
distance around a circle. If we wrapped a string all the way around the geometric
figure from start to finish and stretched the string out, that would be the total
measured distance around the figure. The distance between the two points on
the string (from start to finish) would be a one-dimensional measurement. E.g.

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feet , centimeters, meters, inches, etc Perimeters are found by adding the total
of all sides together.
The area of an object would be the number of square units that would fit into
each geometric figure. Area is found by multiplying the number of units in one
direction by the number of units in a perpendicular direction. Since we are
measuring in two directions, we will have two-dimensional measurements. The
exponents on the units will always be a 2. E.g. cm x cm = cm 2, feet x feet =
two-dimensional
feet 2, M x M = M2
Volume is the number of cubes that can b put into a three dimensional geometric
figure. Volume is measured by multiplying the number of measuring units in
three different perpendicular directions. E.g. cm x cm x cm = cm3 ,
three dimensional
ft x ft x ft = ft3 , M x M x M = M 3

PERIMETER
One-dimensional

AREA
two-dimensional

VOLUME
three dimensional

S5
S1 + S2 + S3 + S4 =P

S1 X S2 = A

A x S5 = V
S1 x S2 x H = V

S1 +S2 +S3 +S4 = P

S1 X S2 = A

AXH=V
(S1 x S2 ) x H = V

S3
S1

S4
S2
CUBE
H

S1

S3

S4

S2
RECTANGLE

PERIMETER

AREA

S1 + S2 + S3 = P
S3
S1
TRIANGLE

S2

A xH = V

S1 x S2 = A

= a rectangle

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James Stevenson
D1

Diameter
D2

D4

D3
The perimeter of the box with dimensions
equal to the Diameter of the circle is 4D. But
we dont want the full perimeter of the box
because we dont go all the ways to the
corners. We follow the curve from D1, to D2, to
D3, to D4, and back to D1. So instead of 4D
we use 3.14 D = D = circumference

The area of box #1 is R X R = R2 .


And if we add the area of the other
four small boxes we would have an
area of 4 R2 But we dont want the
shaded areas of the boxes . So
instead of 4R2 we
use 3.14R2 OR R2

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ALGEBRA
Algebra is just somebody too lazy to write out all the words that they want to use
is solving a problem. E.g.
Q: Johnny went to the store and bought four apples. The four apples cost one
dollar. How much did each apple cost?
A:

Johnny bought four apples.


Four apples cost one dollar
One apple cost one quarter.
OR

Quicker and easier

4 apples = $1
1 apples = 1 4 =
OR easier still
4 Apples = $1
1 Apple =

4A=1
A=

We went from 69 letters in the first solution to 7 symbols in the last or algebraic
solution. That is all that algebra is; just somebody too lazy to write out all the
extra words. Algebra is like a foreign language that has to be translated back
into English. When that is done; it is easy. X usually represents some unknown
number. So every time we see X , we can translate it to read some unknown
number.
Algebraic equations are balanced similar to a teeter-totter. If the weight or value
on one side is equal to the opposite side, then the teeter-totter stays balanced
otherwise one side goes up and the other side goes down. We want to keep
algebraic equations balanced.
E.g. 5X + 7 = 23. Translated into English the equation says, 5 times some
unknown number plus 7 more is equal to 22. What is the unknown number?
To solve this, we want to know what some unknown number X represents.
We want to put the variable or X on one side of the teeter-totter and every thing
else on the other side. If we take 7 off one side of the teeter-totter then one side
will go up and the other side down. So we have to subtract 7 from both sides.
But another method of seeing the same thing is to ask What is attached to the
X and how? We see that the 7 is attached by a + and if we want the 7 on the
opposite side we use the opposite sign of + which is negative a -.on the
opposite side of the equation.

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We want the 7 to change sides ; so we change signs
5X = 22 7 = 15 5X = 15

5X + 7 = 22

The 5 is still attached to the X by multiplication, and we want it on the opposite


side . So the opposite of multiplication is division. So we divide the opposite side
by 5
X = 15 5 = 3

5X = 15

5(3) + 7 = 22

X=3

5 times 3 plus 7 more = 22

The X is isolated on the one side of the teeter totter and the equivalent is on
the other side of the teeter-totter.
( X + 2 )(X +3) =X2 + 5X + 6 Translated into English, this says some number X
plus two more multiplied by the same number plus three more. This is no
different than 22 x 23 = (20 + 2) x (20 + 3) = 400 + 40 +60 + 6 = 506 written
horizontally rather than vertically.
22
x23
66
440
506

20 + 2
x 20 + 3
60 + 6
400 +40
400 + 100 + 6 = 506

It is the same thing only different.

INTEGERS
Integers are positive and negative numbers. One must learn to be able to
interchange the plus sign + and the positive sign. The rules for multiplication
and division of positive and negative integers are the same. Translating math into
English, we have:
+x+=+
-x +=+x-=-x-=+

I have some = +
have is + and some is +
I dont have some = dont is - and some is +
I have none = have is + and none is -
I dont have none = +
dont is - and none is -
if you dont have none , you must have some

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To add or subtract two or more numbers with the same sign, we just add or
subtract as per normal and maintain the same sign.
+ 22
+ + 33
+ 55

- 22
+ - 33
- 55

+ 33
- + 22
+ 11

- 33
- -22
- 11

How ever to add two numbers of opposite signs, we change the sign of the
smaller number and subtract the smaller number from the larger and keep the
sign of the larger number.. Eg.
+ 33
+ - 22

+ 33
- + 22

- 33
+ + 22

- 33
- - 22

+ 11
- 11
This procedure makes the signs the same and we add or subtract as per normal.
And inversely to subtract two numbers of opposite signs; we change the sign of
the number to be subtracted and add the two numbers together.
+ 33
- - 22

+ 33
+ + 22
+ 55

- 33
- + 22

- 33
+ -22
- 55

An alternate method of looking at adding and subtracting positive and negative


integers is to combine the two signs into and do as required.eg.
+ 33
- - 22 - x - = +

+ 33
- 33
- 33
+ 22
- + 22 - x+= -22
+ 55
- 55
A negative times a negative is a positive and a negative times a positive is a
negative.

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CONCLUSION
Math is a process and there is more than one approach or process that will
achieve the correct answer. There are no right or wrong methods of doing math;
only easier and harder methods. Not all brains operate in the same manner as
others or the same manner each time. This booklet was designed to break
people out of a model that did not work well or at all for them. Hopefully it is
designed to stimulate others into finding newer approaches and a better
understanding of math.
The methods described in this booklet are mostly from students and have been
modified and rewritten to show a consistent pattern. If one can recognize the
oneness or the similarity of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and
fractions; then one can see the oneness or simplicity of all aspects of math.
If you have additions, modifications, or improvements please email me at
jstevenson@camosun.bc.ca

COPYRIGHT
This material is copyrighted but may be used or copied by anyone with the
exception of the material being sold for profit. In which case permission may be
requested by contacting jstevenson@camosun.bc.ca.

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