Dr. Cotter on Fractions

Fractions have a bad reputation in the world of arithmetic as being incomprehensible and unpredictable. Cartoons exploit this fear of fractions for amusement. Believe or not, it’s all a huge misunderstanding. Fractions are necessary and amazing. They … [Read more...]

Dr. Cotter on Division

Long division used to be considered the ultimate goal of arithmetic. An earlier division algorithm was so complicated it wasn’t taught until college. Even today some students learn a mnemonic in order to remember what to do next. One example is DMSB … [Read more...]

Dr. Cotter on Multiplication

Multiplication has been the mathematical downfall of many children, not so much because of the algorithms, but memorizing the 100 facts. Before expecting the child to learn the facts, we need to teach the meaning of multiplication. Describing it as … [Read more...]

Dr. Cotter on Math Anxiety

Math anxiety can be thought of as a learned fear of numbers or anything to do with math. It results in feelings of tension and fear at the sight of numbers or math symbols, causing poor performance in math, especially on tests. Sadly, in the U.S., … [Read more...]

Dr. Cotter on Measurements

Measurement is an application of math that is an important part of everyday life. We measure length, area, volume, mass (weight), temperature, time, angles, and many other attributes. For more than simple comparisons, we need numbers and a basic … [Read more...]

Dr. Cotter on Problem Solving

A few years ago while on a shuttle to speak on math at a convention, I started talking to a young man next to me. When he found out I was involved in math, he said he could solve story problems as long as someone told him what operation to use. The … [Read more...]