### What is "What Not How"

When teaching mathematics the student is encouraged
to always concentrate on what they are doing not how
to do it. You would be discouraged saying 3^{2} = 9 rather it
is better to say 3^{2} = 3 x 3 and 3 x 3 is three 3's. Terms
that are used describe the action. You do not simplify a fraction and
heaven forbid you do not reduce it. You can reduce it but then it
would be smaller. What you are really doing is removing common
factors. You can also insert common factors when adding or subtracting
fractions to create like terms.

3a is read as three a's;
4 is read as four
1's; -4 is read
as four negative 1's; 2+3x5 is read as
two ones plus three fives and since you can only add like terms the answer
is seventeen ones. This eliminates the memorization of Order of
Operations. No longer will you have to **P**lease
**E**xcuse **M**y
**D**ear **A**unt
**S**ally. Notice when speaking of
money no one gets confused when you say; I have two singles and three fives.
Everyone knows that is 17 dollars. However some would believe 2+3x5=25 and I don't blame them.
After all we read from left to right. You should not have to rely on
Aunt Sally to get the problem correct. When you do things correctly
you do not find the answer, the answer finds you.

To get a better
idea of the method check out the instructions on the distributive
property (Factoring at 5
years old). You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader 11.0 to view this
document. There is a link to the website where you can download this
free program on the Resource Page.