# Can't do sums

Discussion in 'Math' started by camerart, Jan 13, 2016.

1. ### camerart Thread Starter Active Member

Feb 25, 2013
518
30
Hi,

I'm trying to program a PIC chip, which requires a little maths (as we say here) or to put simply, sums. It's a case of, 'if this is more than that plus a bit', then do something. I'm fine with the first bit, but have great difficulty doing two things in the same sentence, so I stare and stare, but it still won't resolve. I can usually get it if I stare for long enough, because one day is better than another.

This takes me back to being a 7 year old, adding tens and units i,e, 13 plus 19. Start on the right, nine ten eleven twelve, write two in the bottom, then one and one are two, write that in the bottom, giving 22. I was the only person who couldn't carry, and had to stay in detention. I was asked to add different numbers for half an hour and got them wrong for half an hour before being released.

I went on to get 'o' level maths and physics, but still can't do two things in the same question.

Perhaps this is difficult to imagine, if you're good at it, but I got compensated, by being able to make anything, by eye, and of course there are calculators and spreadsheets, to help me. I also worked on tills, and played darts, where I could add and subtract the correct answer, which adds to the puzzle.

Camerart.

2. ### Papabravo Expert

Feb 24, 2006
10,340
1,850
I sympathize with your difficulty. Unless you can develop or learn of a coping mechanism, I think you are well and truly up against it. The one thought I had was if you knew of a special education teacher or a developmental disability professional you might be able to learn something from them. People who have suffered traumatic brain injury have made remarkable strides in rewiring their brains to relearn complex tasks. I hope you find a solution.

BTW -- Can you write out the solution for multiplying one 2-digit number by another?

3. ### DickCappels Moderator

Aug 21, 2008
2,768
669
Some people just happen to work that way. One person I know cannot systematically work though a simple algebra problem but if the stares at it for a while the solution pops into his consciousness. Of course his math teachers did not give him credit for the correct answer because he could not explain their processes.

Maybe one way to deal with the predicament is to cultivate your ability to find answers "intuitively" and see if that is enough to enable you to accomplish your goals.

Are you able to memorize processes?

LuckyChauhan likes this.
4. ### camerart Thread Starter Active Member

Feb 25, 2013
518
30
Yes. the problem I had when I was 7 has gone, but I now can't do two things in the same question, i,e A-B+5 While I'm adding 5 to B, I forget what A was.

I'm a bit late for learning, as the detention was over 60 years ago. It's only a problem occassionally, as when programming, or putting the clocks back, when I didn't know what time it would have been. So nothing to worry about just an odd blind spot.

Think of the top number as A and B, and the bottom as 1 and 2. Put one above the other. Multiply 1 with B, put the unit below B and carry any tens to the A columb. Multiply 1 by A add any carry overs, and write result next to the first digit. Multiiply 2 with B and write below the B column carry any tens, multiply 2 wit Q add any carries and write below. Add the right digits and carry, add the left tens plus carry. If there are decimal points than count them up from the left ond count across the result and pop it in. Something like that?
EDITED
C.

Last edited: Jan 15, 2016
5. ### camerart Thread Starter Active Member

Feb 25, 2013
518
30
I recall learning algebra in my teens. At first I could do it straight away in my head and would put my hand up with the answer. Of course the teacher couldn't keep asking for my answer, and I soon got bored, working for the answer with no reward, and looked out of the window. There must be a way of working with children of different speeds, and attention span. I'm sure most children learn at sightly different speeds on different days with different outside influences.

I have found ways of coping. Mostly by getting someone else to do it for me, or it simply takes a while, if it's worth doing.

I've always been inventive, like my granddad, which makes up for not so good sums.

Part of my memory is very poor, but if I wake in the night with an answer to a problem, I can remember it next day.
EDITED.

C.

Last edited: Jan 15, 2016
6. ### BR-549 Well-Known Member

Sep 22, 2013
2,178
419
Try using one eye, when doing math. It helps some people.

7. ### camerart Thread Starter Active Member

Feb 25, 2013
518
30
Really!! I'll give it a go, thanks.

(Did they use 'that' pirate to count out the treasure

C.

8. ### ErnieM AAC Fanatic!

Apr 24, 2011
7,436
1,626
I had the opposite reaction by my algebra teacher. I just did not get the point for over half a year until one morning in study hall I sat with a class mate and explained my revelation to him.

In class later I think I answered every question she asked just to chech I got the point. I can remember seeing first confusion (why is my worst student answering everything?) to comprehension and a bit of "yes you got it."

That one day of encouragement went a long way.

9. ### camerart Thread Starter Active Member

Feb 25, 2013
518
30
Hi E,

It appears that a blind spot that stops some of us getting the point at the time. Trouble is, the harder we try, the more frustrating it can become, which can cause distress. I remember my son coming home distressed at not understanding fractions, which I found easy. I drew him a couple of pie charts, one with a 1/2 a1/4 an1/8 and two 1/16ths, and the other with various odd numbered sections, all with the sizes marked on them. Then I explained common denominators, and 'voila' he got it. He went on to get a degree, but there were times when he nearly dropped out, perhaps through the stresses of not getting 'it' when others did.

C.

Last edited: Jan 16, 2016
10. ### profbuxton Member

Feb 21, 2014
233
68
Took me while to understand doing long division.
I think a lot of the problem is the teaching method. Many times teachers have trouble explaining things cos they are too busy in a full class.
I had a maths teacher who had a Masters in maths and his method was to chalk equations on the board and then say "therefore we can see the answer is such and such".
I would follow his examples to compute a problem and when it didn't work out he would point out some slight difference that somehow he hadn't explained.

11. ### camerart Thread Starter Active Member

Feb 25, 2013
518
30
Hi Prof,
It seems that your teacher was more a mathematician than a teacher. He would have a lot to show you all if you were receptive.
Some lessons are more difficult to make interesting/exciting to youngsters, and it takes a special person to do that.

C.

12. ### saididias New Member

Jan 17, 2016
1
0
At 63 years and retired from an Electronics Reseller Company, I still struggle with Math problems. It is a matter of Genetic Wiring of the Brain!

Hence I chose "All about Circuits to referesh my neurons + Memory. Math requires daily practice.......

Said I Dias

13. ### Papabravo Expert

Feb 24, 2006
10,340
1,850
You might have misunderstood my intent. I wasn't asking if you could write it out in words, but rather if you could do the sums of the partial products. I guess I'm trying to understand if there is an alternate way of doing the pencil and paper problem that might help.

14. ### camerart Thread Starter Active Member

Feb 25, 2013
518
30
Hi S,

I'm sure we could all learn 'everything' if we all were correctly stimulated from birth, but alas we're not. We all have different levels of concentration, throughout the day, and where maths is concerned, it, being a rather abstract subject needs a special kind of concentration. Not forgetting diversions and even bullying, which can block our concentration, just when we need it.

Keep practising, but only if you are going to need it in the future

C.

15. ### camerart Thread Starter Active Member

Feb 25, 2013
518
30
Hi P,

I had a choice as to whether, to simply say 'yes' to your question, as in 'Q: Can you tell me the time please? A:yes' which can come over as sarcastic, or have a quick stab a answering it. (which was rather tedious), but that was my choice, now we're getting on to language and it's idiosyncrasies

My problem is: While working out the second part of the question, I completely forget the first part.

So If A-B > C then..... I would subtract B from A then look to see if it is > C, and while doing this I would forget, why I am doing it, and have to start again. This may happen a few revolutions, till I have the answer, and this takes too much time to smoothly carry out the bigger picture.

See next post.

C.

16. ### djsfantasi AAC Fanatic!

Apr 11, 2010
2,902
878
Could this be a medical issue as opposed to genetics? I have a similar problem focusing. And my doctor had a solution.

17. ### camerart Thread Starter Active Member

Feb 25, 2013
518
30
Hi D,
Personally, as mentioned before, I am naturally inventive. I think means that for a black and white question, I may grey it. This has been good for me overall, as I don't come up with the obvious, but go round the houses, which may or may not give the obvious answer. Sometimes this is good and sometimes kooky, and sometimes very good. This approach doesn't work with maths, as a black and white question needs a B and W answer.

You are welcome to PM me if you wish, in case it is medical. I'm willing to listen.

C.

18. ### strantor AAC Fanatic!

Oct 3, 2010
4,302
1,989
We all have our strong points and we all have our tools. Your strong point is creativity, and your weak point is math. You've been at this a while and identified your tools; calculators, spreadsheets, and other people who are good at math. Nothing wrong with that at all. If you were 60 years younger, they would tell you that you are afflicted with ADHD. That's what they told me. They gave me medicine which seems to help but I'm not sure the long term effects of it.

I think though, that if I were 40 years older I would have had more time to become at peace with myself, my strong points, my weak points, the tools that I have, and those that I don't. I wouldn't sweat it. I mostly don't, even now. My strong points are creativity and common math (I am not educated in higher maths, but I think I would pick it up easily; so far all math I have studied was picked up easily), but I still use calculators and spreadsheets. My weak points are social skills (getting other people to help me), reading more than 1 paragraph at a time (apparently doesn't bleed over into my ability to write several paragraphs), and procrastination; tools that I don't have are patience and education. But I, like you, have found ways around my shortcomings and become successful in spite of them.

I think we should both be grateful for what we have, and piss on what we don't. You've had plenty of time to get over it, don't reopen this wound at this stage of life.

19. ### camerart Thread Starter Active Member

Feb 25, 2013
518
30
Hi S,
Thanks for your thoughts, and yes we do get over our weaker points in order to survive, hopefully.
I'm not opening a wound, but perhaps having a little moan, while I address the problem that prompted me to start this thread.
C.

Oct 3, 2010
4,302
1,989