Math is a subject that students can sometimes fake their way through.
They might not understand how a problem works, but given the formula,
they can follow rules and get things to come out all right in the
end. Faking can only get them so far, though. Eventually, they
will either forget the formula or not be able to recognize it when
arranged in an unfamiliar manner. What a math teacher wants to
see is the light bulb moment--when a student doesn't just use a
formula but understands why it works.
Working with negative numbers is an abstract concept that many
students have a hard time visualizing. How does one visualize what
isn't there? According to the website, the ZeroSum
brings this abstract "knowing" into concrete "showing"!
This simple little device helps students see not only the negative
numbers but also their relationship with other numbers.
For instance, a student might not see how subtracting 10 from
5 is actually the same as saying 5 + -10. Visualizing the process
with the ZeroSum Ruler helps students see that when they are figuring
out a real-life scenario, such as how much someone owes them, they
are really counting forward in positive numbers.
The ruler itself is of laminated cardstock and is hinged at zero
so that it can be folded, making the positive numbers line up with
the negative numbers. This allows students to count forward the
number they are subtracting or adding.
The true gem of the ZeroSum Ruler is the creator herself. Shana
is passionate about math and making it reachable for students.
Her website contains math videos and commentaries that help students
see that math is fun, interesting, and relevant. She breaks things
down in an easy-to-understand method, and she is also happy to
help with math questions from students and teachers.
The ZeroSum Ruler is a great asset for students struggling with
the concept of negative numbers. And its creator is a great help
to parents struggling to teach those students.