Subtract 1- or 2-digit number from a 2-digit number with/without renaming

From a teacher's perspective our competition is tough. Passing out a handout of 30 problems that are all in a format of 534x25= is not as stimulating in the students' eyes as playing games such as Grand Theft Auto and Resident Evil.

There are several standard exercises which train students to convert percentages, decimals and fractions. Converting percentage to decimals for example is actually as simple as moving the decimal point two places to the left and losing the percent sign "%." Thus 89% is equal to 0.89. Expressed in fraction, that would be 89/100. When you drill kids to do this often enough, they learn to do conversion almost instinctively.

Parents, too, can start to see math as the enemy. Teachers may even tell parents that their child "struggles with concepts," a nice way of saying "your kid doesn't get it." But is this the case? Does a middle-school child struggling with math simply not understand the concepts? Often the answer to this question is a resounding "no!"

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