#### Comment Preferences

• ##### Hatboxes?(5+ / 0-)

I don't think I've seen hatboxes used as an example.  Are there still hatboxes around?

:-)

And while I can see how you can divide a hatbox by a number, I do not see how you can divide a number by a hatbox.

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• ##### But you can(5+ / 0-)

take the reciprocal of a Hatbox, multiply it by a Hatbox, and come up with 1.

Too many students think math has to do with only numbers, specifically, with counting numbers they learned in elementary school, and those nasty variables they didn't understand in middle and high school.

"The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government is incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

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• ##### How do you take the reciprocal of a hatbox?(4+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
Orinoco, Jimdotz, Joffan, dotalbon

that makes no sense to me at all.

Not sure whether it would clarify or confuse the issue for a person who is just learning this, hading not used it with such people, but I'm leery and I think it would lead to confusion over units of measurement.

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• ##### You might consider it(3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
plf515, Rhysling, dotalbon

as a proxy for some abstract entity that might, at some future date, resolve itself into some value or other.

"The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government is incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

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• ##### I use refrigerators or bananas(2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
Orinoco, plf515

I don't think I've used them in quite this context, but when a child was struggling with say 3 x 200 , when they know 3 x 2 perfectly well.

This is not a sig-line.

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• ##### Sometimes it seems(4+ / 0-)

as if students look on each number as a Chinese ideogram, composed of familiar symbols, but with a brand new unique meaning.

Three times two refrigerators is easily figured out, but three times two hundred is an enormously difficult problem.

There are three important ideas underlying the difficulty:
understanding zero, place value, and expanded notation or the idea that a number is composed of a sum (or product) of other numbers.

I think place value is the most likely culprit. It's taught at the elementary level, but I don't think it really sinks in for most struggling math students.

"The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government is incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

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• ##### The reciprocal of a refrigerator (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
Orinoco, Joffan

would that be a stove or an oven? :-)

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• ##### Yes, but I want(2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
Orinoco, plf515

the reciprocal of a microwave oven for instant drink chilling.

This is not a sig-line.

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• ##### According to my sophomore friends(2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
plf515, Joffan

the reciprocal of a microwave is a fire extinguisher. At least for beer.

"The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government is incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

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• ##### that's my invention(1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
Joffan

the macrowave.  I came up with it years ago.  I'll get around to building it someday :)

• ##### That would be(1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
plf515

one divided by a refrigerator.

The reciprocal of a refrigerator is that which, if multiplied by a refrigerator, yields one, with no unit of measurement. The unit of the reciprocal may be very hard to visualize or conceptualize, but it cancels out in the end, so it really doesn't matter what it was.

Actually, I believe the reciprocal of a refrigerator is an oven. A stove is the reciprocal of a window mounted air conditioner.

;^)

"The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government is incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

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• ##### My favorite hatbox(2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
Orinoco, plf515

is the one Asta the fox terrier jumps into at the beginning of "After the Thin Man".   Nora (Myrna Loy) gives him what-for, but you know Asta will do it again when her back is turned.

Smartest dog in movie history (sorry, Toto).

"The watchword of true patriotism: 'Our country--when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.'" (Carl Schurz)

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