Knowing The Words: Math-Made-Easy 1 2 3 4
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This tutorial is for pre-Algebra and Algebra.
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Math-Made-Easy 1 2 3 4
Tutoring Service with Ralph Schatzki.
With thirteen years of math teaching experience,
he now offers one-on-one tutoring.-Grades 1-12.
Basic math, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus.
Knowing The Words
A firm understanding of concepts is enhanced by a firm understanding of the vocabulary used to describe them.
While true understanding ultimately goes beyond the words, it is also true that words are an excellent way by which to
gain understanding. Certainly, teachers use words to convey ideas, and even though you might be able to intuit the
ideas, knowing the vocabulary never hurts. Of course, if you can't figure out concepts on your own, words become even
At their basest level, words are random. Why is blue "blue," or dog "dog?" They could just as easily be "florp"
and "toobye," in which case you might walk your florp under the clear toobye sky. A lot of mathematical terms make just
as little (or, just as much) sense, and you'll need to put a little effort in in order to know what the words mean.
For instance, the difference between a "coefficient" and a "constant" is subtle, but when your teacher is
explaining something and rattles off one of these words, you don't have the luxury of stopping time in order to make sure
you understand. You have to know what it means, and I don't mean simply memorized. If I say "blue," you instantly
imagine the color, and if I say "dog" an image pops into your head. The same thing has to happen when I say
"coefficient," and this means you have to be diligent about achieving a thorough understanding of the terms used in your
Now, I know you have better things to do with your life. Who doesn't? We'd all like to be playing a video game
or going out for soft-serve. But when you are on solid ground, work becomes anything but, and your life is full of
sunshine. That's better than a video game, and probably even better than soft-serve.
About Your Math Tutor
Ralph Schatzki has taught high school algebra, and geometry, as well as trigonometry and statistics.
Referred to as "Mr.Ralph" at Ruamruedee Internatioal School Bangkok, a prestigious school where he
taught for many years, he prides himself in being able to identify areas on which students need
improvement and in giving them the tools they need to succeed at math.
So, what's the difference between "coefficient" and "constant?" Well, a constant is simply a value that doesn't
change- hence, it is constant. 6 is always 6, -41 is always -41. So, 6 and -41 are "constants." A "coefficient" is the
constant portion of a monomial (uh-oh, there's another word I don't know!). For example, in the term 3x, 3 is the
"coefficient" of the term, 3x.
Hey, don't blame me: I didn't make all this stuff up!
A lot of the words you should know - not simply memorize - are: integer, rational, real, natural, whole, cardinal,
ordinal, equation, expression, term, monomial, polynomial, constant, coefficient, solution, variable, prime, composite...
The list goes on and on.
So, when your teacher uses a word you don't know, or if you come across one in your textbook, stop to make sure
you know what that word really means. It's extra work now, but it will pay huge dividends later on.
If you have particular questions, then, what's most important is for you to be able to explain to me your understanding of it
so that I can see where you are. That way, I'll know where your Point A is, and I can direct you to Point B.
Contact me, and we can set up an appointment to get you on the track to success!
Make Your Appointment Now
Please contact me to set up an appointment so we can get to work as soon as possible.
Whether you want to ensure your child a strong foundation in math, if he is struggling
and needs some help to get back on track, or even if he wants some enrichment to move
ahead, I am ready to do whatever it takes to apply my expertise and help him reach his
potential and excel. I can promise that each and every student I teach benefits from
my attention and experience.