I just went to a Kim Sutton "Make Every Math Minute Count" workshop today. Wow, does she have some fantastic ideas and materials! Have you been to see Kim Sutton before? If so, what is your favorite thing she has taught you? Anyways, she went over something called the "digital root" today and I was blown away. I'd never heard of this before- have you ever heard of this?

A digital root is when you add up the digits of a number and what it comes to is the digital root, but if the number it comes to is a two digit number you add the digits up again and you keep doing that until you get a one digit number.eg. 15+ 18 = 33 then you add up the 3 and the 3 together that came from the 33 which = 6, which means the digital root is 6. (It's like you're taking 9 out as many times as you can out of your original number and what is left is your digital root.) You can apply the digital root theory to mentally check your students' computation or to check a large number for divisibility factors. It's also great for helping students to notice patterns, which is a huge part of mathematics. Below is a link to using digital root with times tables and kids get to see patterns in action. Getting students to find patterns in mathematics is key to comprehension and showing kids that math is not like reading or language arts- not many things are constant or in the rules of our language and alphabet. BUT in math, it's quite different. I'm still processing some of this stuff and running my own equations to test this theory- it's pretty cool!

I am so lost! Math hasnot been my big strength! Thank goodness I teach the little guys. But I am going to play with this and see if I can get it. I feel dumb!

Yes, you definitely have to play with it to remotely understand it if you're not as math-minded as you' d like to be.

And the link is...? (There's a good deal more pattern to language than might appear, in fact: that's what linguistics is all about.)

While I realize there are patterns in linguistics, it doesn't have quite the same constants as mathematics. That's why our language is know for being one of the toughest to learn as a second language. Mathematics is universally understood.

I saw her just a few weeks ago at a conference as the keynote speaker. She was speaking to early childhood groups so she focused more on using songs to aid in learning and lots of other small gimmicky things to help in some of the rote things they are hearing every day in the early grades. I loved the music for learning - the music lists for different activities were great!

If mathematics is universally understood, why do all those people keep coming to me for help?! Seriously, all languages are about equally tough to learn - they're just tough in different places. Chinese has lexical tone (different pitch = different word), not to mention a writing system with about 20,000 symbols to master to be a fluent reader. Most European languages have masculine and feminine genders, which determine adjective agreement (French un maison blanc 'a white (masc.) house (masc.)' vs. une serviette blanche 'a white (fem.) napkin (fem.)'), and German has three genders, not to mention four cases depending on whether a noun is subject, direct object, indirect object, or possessed; there are Bantu languages with ten gender-like categories (they're called noun classes or agreement classes). Chukchi, spoken in Kamchatka, has infixes along with its prefixes and suffixes. I could go on, and on, and on... Even with English spelling there's a good deal less chaos than people think. Take that word chaos: it is a sight word, to be sure, but a student who needs to be able to read it probably also is far enough along to need to know chemistry and chorus and chasm and chronology and chiropractor - oh, and orchestra and orchid (which, by the way, comes from the Greek for 'testicle') - and to pull these all together under the heading "Words that English swiped from Greek". And such a student is better equipped to deal, when they come along, with the likes of Chimera in Greek mythology and chiton from either Greek art or entomology.

The digital root is adding up the digits in a number until you end up with a one digit number: 732 would be 7+3+2 = 12, you have to keep going (1+2=3) until you have a single digit number. With this number you can now develop new patterns and write new math rules for large numbers based on their digital root patterns. I think the best known is the rule for division by 3 - you can see if any number, no matter how large, can be divided equally by 3 by finding the digital root, if it is divisible by 3 (3,6,9) then the large number is divisible by 3.

Ha, I figured it out (I think). It is like when you figure out your numerology number to find your fortune (or whatever), and you add your birth day, month, and year, and come up with a one digit number. July 7, 1956 would be 7+7+1+9+5+6= 35 and then you reduce 35 to 3+5=8. So now what do I do with the digital root, now that I can compute it? I too, am thankful I work with the little kiddos! Advanced math is not my strong point!

To put it in baseball terms, cheeryteacher, I was teeing off on a high outside pitch. I'm Multitudinous because "teacher groupie" describes me rather nearly: my posting is the electronic version of hanging around after school and begging to get to erase the blackboard, pleeeeease?? Ridiculous, yes, but I'm hooked.