# [Numeracy 185] Re: The double negative language-math link

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Barb Hofmeyer bhofmeyer at ciesc.k12.in.us
Tue Feb 16 14:52:09 EST 2010

There is a book by Bethanie Tucker that addresses this kind of mental modeling in algebra. It is called The Journey of Al & Gebra to the Land of Algebra. Though it won't take the place of instruction, it's a fun story that helps students associate a picture or model with many abstract algebra concepts. For example, the concept of positive and negative numbers is taught with the story of a tower and dungeon similar to Charlie's example below. Although it won't appeal to every student, the concrete thinkers will appreciate it.

I believe that Aha! Process is the publisher. (Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with this company, I just am less creative than many of you on the list and saw the book as a way to teach "pictures" or mental models of abstract concepts. I thought some of you could also benefit.)

Barbara Hofmeyer
Professional Development Consultant
Indiana Adult Education Professional Development Project
bhofmeyer at ciesc.k12.in.us<mailto:bhofmeyer at ciesc.k12.in.us>
260-572-6296
________________________________
From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Charlie [charlie at durangoaec.org]
Sent: Monday, February 15, 2010 4:36 PM
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List
Subject: [Numeracy 171] Re: The double negative language-math link

I draw a horizontal line and call it ground level. A pile of dirt can be x feet above ground level (positive). A hole in the ground can be x feet below ground level (negative). You can add a positive value by filling the hole and/or making the pile taller. You can add a negative integer by shoveling off of the pile and/or digging deeper. Subtraction problem are converted to addition. For subtraction, the mantra is "cross the line [change from subtraction to addition] and change the sign [of the second integer]"

Charlie Love
GED/ESOL Instructor
701 Camino del Rio, Room 301
Durango, CO 81301
phone: 970-385-4354 ext. 110
fax: 970-385-7968
charlie at durangoaec.org<mailto:charlie at durangoaec.org>

On Feb 15, 2010, at 7:05 AM, mysbooks at aol.com<mailto:mysbooks at aol.com> wrote:

Sea level, stocks, money; loans, home equity-especially relevant when mortgages are "under water".

-----Original Message-----
From: Denney, Brooke <denneyb at cowley.edu<mailto:denneyb at cowley.edu>>
To: numeracy at nifl.gov<mailto:numeracy at nifl.gov>
Sent: Thu, Feb 11, 2010 10:17 pm
Subject: [Numeracy 151] The double negative language-math link

Michael:

I disagree with your statement that, “negatives carry meaning in mathematical, but not physical (reality) terms”; after all, it is winter in the Midwest and negative values mean something in my reality when we are talking about wind chill factors and really cold temperatures (perhaps living in a really warm climate you may have forgotten). Also, negative numbers are used when discussing the grade of the road (i.e., positive or negative grade). Does anyone else have examples of negative numbers used in reality?

-Brooke

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