In presenting these problems in a prepared by MOVE IT Math™ while a graduate-level methods course at the University of Houston–Victoria, the results confirmed that the mindset was pervasive.
• Of 3,187 grade 2 students tested, 2,360, or 74 percent, answered the first problem correctly, but only 606, or just 19 percent, answered the second one correctly, and 685, or 21 percent, exhibited the mindset by answering 82. The vast number of remaining students (1,896) either answered something besides 91 or 82 or did not try.
• Of 2,613 grade 3 students tested, 2,223, or 85 percent, answered the first problem correctly, but only 1,124, or 43 percent, answered the second one correctly, and 656, or 25 percent, exhibited the mindset. Again, a large number of students (833) either answered something besides 91 or 82 or did not try.
• Of 2,807 grade 6 students tested, 2,704, or 96 percent, answered the first problem correctly, and 2,267, or 81 percent, answered the second one correctly, but 209, or 7 percent, still exhibited the mindset, and 331, or 12 percent, got a wrong answer other than 82 or did not try.
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Monster Addition totally avoids the mindset of “always carrying a 1.” In utilizing only the addition facts, it straightaway enables students to add long columns of numbers where they “carry” numbers other than 1.
Monster Addition Builds Self-confidence
Monster Addition is easy to teach and learn, even without blocks or counters, just chalk-and-talk. Virtually every child from grade 1 on can master the algorithm. To motivate learning it, fill out a Monster Addition Certificate for every child with his or her name on it and post it where he or she can see it.
YouTube video: (3:47)
Once children have learned how to add mini-monsters, as in the e-book MONSTER MATH: Addition & Subtraction, have them work the (where they “carry” every number from 1 through 9). If the answer they get matches the one on their , they get to claim the certificate. If not, they are to correct their work until it does. Since the algorithm is diagnostic, they can find where they made a mistake and rework the problem from there rather than start all over again. Once they get the right answer, they get their certificate.
The significance of the certificate for students is closure, something they rarely experience in arithmetic. It validates that they have actually mastered something—that they can add any amount of numbers no matter their size! For older students with a history of doing poorly in arithmetic, the excitement and justifiable pride they realize in their achievement overcomes any beliefs of inadequacy in the subject.
The Road to Monster Subtraction Runs through Fair Lands™
Teaching Monster Subtraction is a letdown after Monster Addition. It is the standard subtraction algorithm, except based on thinking, not remembering, with no shortcuts in notation. It is a record of everything that occurs in exporting in Ten Land. The following illustrates both algorithms for 5020 – 463.
Standard Subtraction Algorithm
The standard subtraction algorithm is a rote, meaningless process, typically taught orally, which would be okay if children learned and remembered it, but most do not. Even if each step in the algorithm is explained with concrete materials, the algorithm ends up being used mechanically because it was designed to be used that way. It is a