Utilizing imagery and visual memory can be very helpful when learning mathematics. A single picture can help a student define and remember a concept, or it can even help them to recall the steps required to compute a problem.
What’s more, it often brings the “fun factor” into the learning environment as students can pull out their crayons, colored pencils or magic markers to complete the activity.
The Palm Tree Method
- I recently learned about the Palm Tree Method from one of my students. I scoured the internet to find its origin, but came up empty handed. So, although I did not come up with this idea, it is still one of my favorites for solving proportions. Here is a sample problem and the steps to follow.
- Write out the proportion.
- Draw a green oval around the numerator of the first fraction and the denominator of the second fraction.
- Draw another green oval around the denominator of the first fraction and the numerator of the second fraction.
- Notice how the crisscrossing ovals create a multiplication sign. This will remind students that they will be multiplying the numbers circled.
- Draw the trunk on the tree as a brown rectangle.
- Write out the problem: 100·x = 60·80 (placing the equals sign in the trunk of the palm tree).
- Solve the next step 60·80=4800 (again placing the equals sign in the trunk of the palm tree).
- Then divide the two sides by 100 to solve for x.
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