The following is a guest post by Rachel DeMille, co-founder of Thomas Jefferson Education
Wednesday evening, Family Reading Time…
“Can I ever learn?” I asked, almost ready to cry.
“Of course you can,” said Leon. “You’re smart as the others, I suppose. The sevens and nines of the multiplication table are the stickers, but you ought to do them if other girls can.”
I pause my read-aloud, and ask: “Who thinks the nines are hard?” They giggle.
I had already taught them the tricks with nines.
“Which were hardest?” I ask.
Sara (18, in college), Eliza and Ammon vote for Eights. Emma (19, college) says Sixes and Sevens. Meri and Abi have no opinion; they are really more interested in the main character’s pet blue jay. We read on, but a thought stays with me: There has to be a way to demystify Sixes, Sevens, and Eights!
So lying awake early next morning, I challenge myself to find a pattern. Tangents and sidebars spring up as I make mental sticky notes to myself on vocabulary cognates between math-world and real-world, as I ponder what candies would be useful in teaching primes and composites, and…
EUREKA! I found it! But that starts me thinking about a pattern for Sixes, so I turn it over and over like a rubik’s cube, and then…