# Author Archives: Darrell Blanks

### Lesson From Mexico: Pan De Mujer

Every day on the way to our work site in Mexico, we passed a small sign on the side of a similarly small building that said, “Pan de Mujer, 5 pesos.” I speak Spanish but I was still a little unsure what this meant. I knew the words, but “woman’s bread” didn’t make sense, so… Continue Reading

### Building Understanding in Mathematics

This week I’m writing from Mexico. Every year, my church travels down to build houses for families in need. We work with local churches to supply building materials and manpower to build simple homes. The work could not occur without the help of local pastors, who help by identifying the families and local contacts we… Continue Reading

### Small Misunderstanding, Big Difference in Meaning

After one month as a missionary in Argentina I was ready to raise the dead. Or at least that is what the woman at the door must have thought. Let me explain. As we were proselyting door to door, it was my turn to talk to whoever answered the door. A woman happened to answer… Continue Reading

### Ill Fitting Brakes and Ill Fitting Instruction

Yesterday, my daughter called me and told me there was a horrible scratching sound coming from her car. It was her brake pads. I have replaced brake pads on lots of cars, but not hers. The bolts came off easily and the pads came out without much effort and so I thought everything was going… Continue Reading

### Procedures Built from Conceptual Understanding

A few weeks ago, I saw a post of some students dancing and singing to a set of procedures for solving a long division problem. The person who shared the video raved about how she had never seen students love math so much. Several of my friends responded by saying that they didn’t love math,… Continue Reading

### Toward Number: Hiding Counters

In my last blog, we discussed how the student needs time to imagine counters, or use something that can stand in the place of counters, so the child will gain enough experiences to make just the numeral meaningful. How can we encourage students to do this? Let’s imagine a child has the goal of figuring… Continue Reading

### Imagination and Manipulatives

In my last blog I discussed the gap between using manipulatives and using numerals only as being a gap too large to traverse in one step. What then bridges the gap? Research that has been the focus of study at the AIMS Center suggests that the answer is to be found in the mathematical knowledge… Continue Reading

### Counters to Numerals: The Big Jump

I have often heard from teachers the following, “My students can do the problems with counters, but when I take the counters away, they can’t do the problems anymore.” I have seen many math textbooks that introduce addition equations with counters in early grades and after a few times using the counters, the students are… Continue Reading