View Full Version : algebra and language LD

12-05-2016, 03:04 PM
You wouldn't think a language-based LD would affect a math curriculum, but my ds has hit a wall with percentage word problems. He cannot grasp how to pull the required equation out of the narrative, and says he is unable to visualize what they are asking. We are using Saxon Alg. 1, which uses little ovals to draw a rudimentary diagram of the problem and ds says they make NO sense whatsoever and refuses to use that intended clue. I've written him out a basic generic equation to use as a help, %/100 of WN is WN

He has no trouble with basic word problems where the part after the "=" is the unknown. Those are the 6th grade version of percentages. It's when the other numbers are unknown, or an increase/decrease is involved that he's stuck. Here are today's problems as an example.

1. The troll became incensed when he saw the billy goats prancing across the bridge. Finally he tore down the bridge- but not before 18% of the goats had crossed. If 45 goats had crossed, how many goats were there? (equation would be 18/100 x What Number = 45)

2. A 130% increase in the doll population resulted in a total of 1610 dolls. How many dolls were present before the increase? 230/100 x WN = 1610 or (130/100 x WN) + WN = 1610

He had me check out how he set them up before doing the math, and both were wrong. Once properly set up, he solves them easily. There is no pattern to his mistakes in his set-ups. I think he might be just throwing the numbers in there and rolling the dice that maybe they land in the right places.

I need helps for teaching him to visualize these problems. He can't untangle the math from the verbage.

I've searched for websites and practice pages, and everything I found is the basic ones that he can already do, and ONE worksheet of advanced problems that we've already used. I can't find anything that addresses his problem.

Joy in Alabama
12-06-2016, 06:36 AM
Wendy, I can't help you with that specific thing, but last summer I talked to Faith Berens at HSLDA about Abby's dyscalculia and she gave me some resources.
dyscalculia.org (wonderful! and has all sorts of links)

I guess you've already looked at Aleks.com and Khanacademy.org

12-06-2016, 08:49 AM
Thank you Joy! I've looked at Khan, but never used the others. My homework for today!

Shannon P
12-18-2016, 12:32 AM
I simplified such problems to 5 elements: a number, a percent, and the words "what", "is", and "of". My kids learned to form their questions using those elements, and then simply replaced those elements with math functions. "What" or "how many" is the answer, "is" is the equals sign, and "of" means to multiply. At first, I simplify the language so the substitutions are literal, keeping the numbers in the same order they appear in the problem and using my language. I gradually change to keeping the original language.

So I would simply your first example into "18% of 45 goats is how many goats". That would read into "18% (of) 45 (is) (how many)". With the substitutions it becomes 18% (times) 45 (equals) (the answer), and finally 0.18x45=G.

I would simplify your second example into "130% increase in dolls is 1610". That would read into 130% (of) (what number) (is) 1610, which becomes 130% (times) (a number) (equals) 1610, or 130%xD=1610, which has to be solved for D, so D=1610/1.3.

As long as they can construct a verbal question using those words, they can solve it by literally replacing the code words.