# Help with teaching Entry Level

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by rpalmer14, Jan 24, 2020.

1. ### rpalmer14New commenter

Hello, are there any Maths teachers that could give any advice on how to help a student understand a question.

He is yr11 and I’m currently working with him (I’m a TA) on the money unit. He is struggling with the questions on change.

It is a calculator paper so the maths itself is fine but I can’t get him to understand what the question is asking him and what numbers he needs to put in to the calculator in order to get the correct answer.

For example I’ve tried to tell him that the way to work it out is the amount the person has given - the value of the item. But he struggles to remember this.

I’m sorry if this doesn’t make much sense so let me know if I need to explain anything better. Thanks in advance for any help.

2. ### VeerwalNew commenter

Have you tried role playing with coins? Then when he gets that keep doing it but start recording what you’re doing, then finally move on to just trying to work out the written question? This has worked for me in an SEN setting. Good luck .

3. ### gainlyLead commenter

Maybe paying with cash and getting change is an alien concept to many teenagers.

MathMan1 and strawbs like this.
4. ### bramblesarahOccasional commenter

I play change 4 in a row with one of my primary children it is from 10 ticks, but you could make it yourself. You have a set of cards with the cost on (you could even have a picture of the item if you wanted) then the answer of the amount of change on a grid. So each item is change from £1 but you could make this a higher amount. The first one with 4 boxes on the grid in a row wins. What is good about this is you can demonstrate what you need to do when it's your turn. Maybe you could write the steps down as well then play once with the steps showing and then turn them over and play again without the steps. Then do some separate questions at the end. You could also ask on the SEN or primary community. As a secondary Maths teacher I often find it harder to teach easier concepts like change than trig because it is just so obvious.
Secondly, maybe the questions are too hard? Maybe start with I go to the shop and buy 1p sweet and pay with 2p what change do I get. Then I buy 1p sweet and pay with 5p, then 10p e.c.t. keep the amounts less than £1. I know you said they can use a calculator but they are struggling to understand the concept so brake it down and make the numbers easier.

5. ### teselectronicOccasional commenter

Could you not apply the inverse scenario to consolidate learning, the pupil would then be able to make positive progress, by actually seeing that his/her calculation is valid.

6. ### catherinedavidNew commenter

It is amazing how easy concepts are the hardest to explain compared to explaining algebra! However, you need to demonstrate as I have done with deaf people. Seeing money for real at the start and end of the transaction is the best route to grasping the concept of change. As a small child I used to think there has been a lot of money given to my mum when we went shopping. I did not understand the concept of change for a while. Mum kept saying but it less than I gave her and my reply would be: 'but you still have a lot of money!' I can understand this 11 year old's difficulty perfectly!