Month: November 2012

Number Sets: Naturals, Wholes, Integers, etc

Tutoring math, you often get asked about sets of numbers.  Let’s sort out what belongs where. We’ll make this story as short as possible: Naturals (N):  {1,2,3,4…..}  These might be referred to as counting numbers. Wholes (W):  {0,1,2,3,4…..}  These include all the naturals, plus zero. Integers (Z):  {….-3,-2,-1,0,1,2,3….} 

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Multiplying two binomials: the FOIL method

Tutoring math, the FOIL method is used daily.  We’ll explain it here. In math, the distributive property is used constantly.  An illustration: 3(5x-7)=15x-21 To see what’s really happening here, look to the following: We see that we take the outer number (in this case,

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Physics: Newton’s First Law

Tutoring high school physics, you get the privilege of retelling Newton’s three Laws.  They can’t be discussed too often. Newton’s First Law: If no unbalanced force acts on an object, it either continues moving in a straight line at constant speed, or else remains in its

Chemistry: Covalent Compounds

When you tutor high school chemistry, writing chemical formulas comes up every year.  Having investigated ionic compounds, let’s sort out covalent ones. If you look in the Chemistry category, you’ll see various posts about writing chemical formulas for ionic compounds.  Those

Cell Biology: Function of the Cell Membrane

When you tutor high school biology, cell biology is a mainstay.  The particular role of the cell membrane sometimes gets neglected. Membranes are very important in the construction of organisms.  Every membrane has the basic function of keeping materials separate or else keeping

Apostrophes: a minefield of everyday English

One issue in English tutoring is apostrophes.  We’ll sort out when to use them – and when not to. In everyday English, you commonly see apostrophes misused.  There are only two cases in which you do use them: 1)  In contractions, such as can’t

The Tectonic Plates: Floating Islands of Rock

Tutoring high school science, you might be asked about plate tectonics at any time.  Here is the most condensed, pragmatic explanation you’ll likely find. To believe in plate tectonics – which, by the way, is true beyond any doubt – you need

Longitude and Latitude

When you tutor social studies or geography, you’ll likely have to explain the concepts of longitude and latitude.  Now, we will. The other day a kid came to me, embroiled in a conflict.  One adult had told him lines of longitude lie north

Algebra: solving equations with decimal coefficients

When you tutor math, decimal coefficients surface sometimes – especially in word problems.  We’ll sort out a simple scenario. Recently, someone asked me a question very similar to 206.5(0.7x) + 112x = 4000.5 Here’s what to do: 1)  multiply the 206.5 by

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French: present tense of avoir and être

Whether tutoring French or learning it, these verb conjugations are critically important. The French verb to be is  être.  Its present tense conjugation is as follows: je suis (I am) nous sommes (we are) tu es (you [singular] are) vous êtes

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