Understanding trumps tricks

My friend Allison (MIT graduate in Mathematics) recently explained why she struggled with inequalities as a child.

To help students remember which way the inequality sign pointed, the teacher drew an alligator mouth. You know the lesson. Here’s an example from songsforteaching.com:

And the song lyrics:

And one from GradeAMathHelp.com

And this simple shortcut or trick was the cause of all of Allison’s troubles with inequalities.

She explained: “everyone knows, the bigger fish eats the small fish”:

About Cassy Turner

Passionate about Singapore Math + Teacher Trainer and Coach + Treasure Hunter + Learner. Answer to the ultimate question? 42.


  1. […] Cassy shows how a common trick used by elementary teachers may backfire, causing a student to stumble: Understanding trumps tricks. […]

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