# Year 6 maths...

(38 Posts)
FermatsTheorem Tue 20-Nov-18 16:22:53

Can anyone help me decipher a partially remembered acronym?

DS says he's struggling with something he says is called "XNMP" - but google isn't helping, which makes me think he has mis-remembered the acronym.

It appears to be something to do with cross multiplying, i.e. (hope formatting works)

a/b
_______ = a/b * d/c
c/d

Once I know what he's actually on about, I'll have no trouble (am v good at maths) - it's just working out what it is that he's stuck with.

Thanks!

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exorcisingarrrgggghti Tue 20-Nov-18 16:25:36

I only know KFC. Keep ( first fraction) Flip ( second fraction) and Change ( sign from divide to times)

TeenTimesTwo Tue 20-Nov-18 16:27:11

No idea.
Why does she need an acronym for that?

It is just dividing fractions?
Change the sign to a x and flip the second fraction upside-down.

FermatsTheorem Tue 20-Nov-18 16:31:44

Thanks - KFC is good.

That's the thing, I'm not 100% sure it is dividing one fraction by another - the reciprocal multiplication is my "best guess" as to what DS is up to, but I don't know for sure. It might be something entirely different, which is why I was wondering if anyone had come across an acronym like it.

If I get the chance I'll see if I can have a word with his teacher (he has after school sports clubs most days of the week, so I rarely see the teacher).

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Lougle Tue 20-Nov-18 16:34:02

I wonder if he was thinking "XMND"? As in "change the sign to an X, then multiply the numerator by the denominator."

user789653241 Tue 20-Nov-18 16:40:35

Agree with teen, you don't need an acronym.

This video explains something similar to your problem at the end.

www.mathantics.com/section/lesson-video/dividing-fractions

FermatsTheorem Tue 20-Nov-18 16:52:27

That'll be it, Lougle!

(Teen, irvine, I think we're on the same side. I don't want to know the acronym in order to slavishly teach him an algorithm that matches the acronym without understanding why. I want to know what the acronym stands for in order to know which bit of maths it is I have to teach him, understanding and all. No good spending a week teaching him about reciprocals if it turns out he was actually stuck on pie charts or something! I mean, obviously a week on reciprocals isn't wasted, but if he's worried about a particular thing, I need to help him to sort out that thing, rather than a completely different thing.)

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FermatsTheorem Tue 20-Nov-18 16:56:39

That video looks great, Irvine. And just the sort of thing DS responds well to. Thanks.

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TeenTimesTwo Tue 20-Nov-18 17:04:14

Fermats Does he really have no idea what he has been learning?

The only acronym I can think of for primary maths would be BODMAS.

FermatsTheorem Tue 20-Nov-18 17:23:07

Generally speaking his maths is okay - but he's dyslexic, and in particular struggles with working memory, and when something is presented as a sequence of operations (the algorithms that go with acronyms) - keep the numerator, flip the denominator, then turn the divide into a multiply would be a classic example, this is exactly the sort of thing that can get garbled first time he encounters it, to the extent that he can't even tell me clearly what it is he isn't getting.

He'll be fine once he understands what's going on and we've practised it a bit, it's just getting over that initial hurdle of "I got told to do this and this and this and it may have got a bit muddled in my head and I can't quite remember the steps or the right order".

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FermatsTheorem Tue 20-Nov-18 17:26:16

Incidentally BODMAS - which I have only recently come across via mumsnet - would be my prime example of an acronym which hinders understanding! Teach children properly about operator scope and precedence and brackets, don't get them to parrot BODMAS without thinking about it.

(Of course I learned about operator scope and precedence etc. as a child - we just didn't call it BODMAS. So actually, that's a great example of the sort of situation we've got here - I can just imagine DS coming home saying "I really don't understand BODMAS" and me thinking "WTF is that?", specially if he came home and said "we learned BIDMIS at school and I don't understand it" - instant google fail!)

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TeenTimesTwo Tue 20-Nov-18 17:29:25

When I google BIDMIS I get asked 'Do you mean BODMAS?'
But I know what you mean.

DD1 had a habit of coming home not knowing a method that was new to me, and then I had to struggle to guess what she was on about.

Fresta Tue 20-Nov-18 17:40:11

But bodmas/bidmas does help most children- what else do they have to Help them remember the order to calculations in?

user789653241 Tue 20-Nov-18 21:09:57

I am not sure about BODMAS/BIDMAS.
American way of PEDMAS is way easier, imo.
Do children get what "order" or "indices" better than "exponents"?

GHGN Tue 20-Nov-18 23:11:32

FermatsTheorem finally someone agrees with me about this stupid acronym. Kids just recite it and carry out calculations in the order of DM and AS, getting it completely wrong and wonder why BIDMAS does not work.

Fresta do you think every country in the world will have an acronym for the order of operations.

user789653241 Tue 20-Nov-18 23:31:29

GHGN , no I never heard anything like BODMAS in my native country.

Pythonesque Wed 21-Nov-18 10:47:57

Do you also get "But I need to do it the way the teacher told us" when you try to help sort things out at home? My eldest used to be like that ...

user789653241 Wed 21-Nov-18 11:16:36

Pythonesque, I think it only happens if the teacher is out of her/his depth, imo.

Pythonesque Wed 21-Nov-18 19:05:17

Ah yes, I recognise the year 6 teacher not quite keeping up with questions from the brightest in the class who are more than ready for secondary. (I've got a violin student in that category at the moment, I've noticed how my approach has really evolved as I tend to forget she's still in primary when teaching her!)

Fresta Thu 22-Nov-18 13:28:04

So you think we should abandon strategies that a vast majority of children find helpful just because a few dyslexic children are confused by them?

FermatsTheorem Thu 22-Nov-18 14:01:44

I don't think anyone on this thread is saying that Fresta.

Two entirely separate issues are at play here.

One is the fact that if one has a dyslexic child, as I do, often messages between school and home get garbled in the transmission. So you get this kind of perfect storm. Child cannot remember the actual maths, because the algorithm involved several steps, which, because of problems with their ability in short-term working memory, they haven't remembered properly - so they give you a garbled account of the maths. Then, just to add to the complication, the child says "the method is called FUBAR", which, again due to their dyslexia, they've garbled. So you end up in the situation - as I was when I started this thread - of thinking "I know they're struggling with something in maths, I know it's something to do with fractions, but I can't work out exactly what it is they're struggling with, and until I do that, I can't help them."

Then there's the second, entirely unconnected issue of whether acronyms are a good idea as a teaching method. To which the answer - for children in general, not dyslexic children in particular - is "they can be a useful aide memoire but they must be used in conjunction with explanations which foster understanding the underlying concepts." And you only need a cursory look at the threads which pop up on here in education, chat, AIBU even, where parents are trying to help with maths homework, and it's clear that the parents don't understand operator scope, to know that the danger is that the parents can remember an acronym called BODMAS, for e.g., but they don't actually understand what it means. They went through 14 years of formal education, and all they remember is a string of letters, not the actual mathematics behind it.

Don't get me wrong - I think maths teaching has improved - in some ways - out of all recognition since I went through school. Back in the seventies and eighties, those of us with a natural aptitude for maths got a superb mathematical education, but the children who weren't stellar at maths got failed utterly. I genuinely think that maths teaching, on average, has improved massively, and there are far, far fewer children being failed. But I still think there's a problem when any bit of maths gets moved from being about understanding to being about rote learning of an algorithm without any understanding of why the algorithm works - and that's what acronyms like BODMAS encourage.

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FermatsTheorem Thu 22-Nov-18 14:12:00

I should also add that having a natural aptitude for maths is actually not helpful as a parent of a child who doesn't get things first time, because being good at maths and being good at teaching are two entirely different skill sets. There's always this intense danger that I cock up totally by saying "but it's obvious that..." when in fact it is not in the slightest bit obvious, and all I do is undermine what little confidence DS has. I have to be very, very careful with that one (and it's why I always try where possible to make time to go and ask the teacher how they're teaching things, and what DS is struggling with.

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user789653241 Thu 22-Nov-18 15:03:51

Just remembered. My ds's school have maths calculation booklet on their website, and as a hand book. They explains the methods and words they use in his school.
Don't they have something like that at your dc's school?

TeenTimesTwo Thu 22-Nov-18 15:41:53

I should also add that having a natural aptitude for maths is actually not helpful as a parent of a child who doesn't get things first time

I'm with you there, 100%. With DD1 I used to break things down to what I thought were tiny steps, only to discover I had to break my tiny steps down to miniscule ones. It took from ~y4-y8 for me to really learn what was needed, but I got quite competent for the GCSE years.

I have found 'flip learning' quite useful with my DDs. I guess/find out what is coming up soon, and show to them saying 'this might be a bit beyond you at the moment' - this seems to give them permission to try. They might not completely get it, but then when they do it in class they think 'oh I've heard of this' and it makes them more receptive to the teaching.

user789653241 Thu 22-Nov-18 21:23:46

Not having a natural aptitude for maths can be even worse as a parent though, Teen.

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