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Integer Rules Why?

  During the month of February, we started reviewing for our State test.  As we learned new concepts and reviewed previous ones we looked at why the rules work and how did they work. This took time, it time that many may say was a waste or could have been used elsewhere.    For struggling students or students who aren't great at memorizing this is very helpful. I find that in math students are told this is the rule and you need to learn it.  The reason behind the rule isn't explained or shown.  I've been challenging my students to ask questions, seek to know how or why it works, and not just believe something is true because I said it was.   This had led to great discussions.  For example, why does minus a negative change to a plus sign.  You've probably heard two negatives make a positive but why does it work.  We spent a day looking at why the integer rules work.  If they know the reason behind it, it helps as they are working out a problem or building on this skill. 
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