Personal Tutoring Session

July 17th, 2014

For a few sessions this summer, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a student named Rachel. Recently we have been going over Math, specifically, the circumference and area of circles. Like any other subject, it is important to understand the material conceptually in order to proceed in solving the problem. While working with Rachel, I made it a point for her to grasp the differences between such things as pi, the radius of a circle, the diameter of a circle, the circumference, and the area. In order to accomplish this, I presented her with problems in a specific order that would utilize what she learned in previous problems. For example I asked her to solve for the circumference with a given area. This required that 1) she knew the formulas for both circumference and area, 2) she understood the significance and meaning of each number she was solving for within each step and 3) she utilized what she learned from previous problems to solve the bigger problem. Overall, there has been a noticeable improvement in Rachel’s speed, accuracy, and conceptual understanding during her time at Study Hut.

The BIG Secret to Preparing for finals

June 11th, 2014

Title: The BIG Secret to Preparing for finals

 

Do you have any friends who seem to breeze through their finals? While your friends are chilling out, are you stressing out?

 

How do they do it!?!

 

They know something you don’t know.

 

Don’t tell anybody, but I am about to let you in on a big secret. This secret will quite literally change your life- it can make you healthier, less stressed out, and happier.

 

Here’s the secret to properly preparing for finals: stop cramming.

 

That’s right, to ace your finals and to be less stressed out about them you need to stop cramming. Cramming up to the last minute pulling marathon all nighters is an inefficient and unhealthy way to study.

 

Instead of cramming, you need to spread out the work. Starting now, you should take a bit of time (not too little but also not too much) to begin reviewing old notes, problem sets, and exams. The key is for this to be a regimented and manageable review process. If you stick with it and do a little bit each day you will not have to do a lot the weekend before your exams.

 

 

The bottom line is that you are going pay now or pay later in terms of preparation.

You can coast now and “pay later” with caffeine-fueled evenings reviewing a semester’s worth of materials in a few days. This is the “drinking from a fire hose” approach. Not fun.

Or you can “pay now” by doing a little bit of preparation each night and spreading out the workload into something more manageable. Being well rested and healthy indisputably helps you perform better exams, this approach of spreading out the work means you will be able to cover more material in a smart way.

 

An additional benefit of being ahead of the curve when it comes to preparation is if you come across any questions you can ask friends or instructor for extra help and advice.

 

As Mark Twain (or maybe Agatha Christie) once said, “the secret to getting ahead is getting started.” There is no time to wait, start this process now without the unhealthy late-night heroics, and your mind, body, and report card will thank you.

A Personal tutoring session

May 22nd, 2014

Today I got to work with one of my students, Eric, on his ninth grade biology homework assignment covering natural selection and evolution.  He has a quiz coming up so his homework reviewed the sections in the book.  While working through the problems, Eric and I had a great discussion about each of his answers.  We came up with lots of examples for the different terms he had to know.  The example that stuck most with Eric was how the finches that flew to the Galapagos Islands represented the founder effect of genetic drift.  By geographically isolating a small population of a species, the genetic variation is limited causing the species to change and adapt to the new environment.  He enjoyed thinking up other situations in which the founder effect could be applied.

The one topic that confused Eric was the Hardy-Weinberg principle for genetic equilibrium.  This is a tough concept to understand because it theoretical and complex.  First off, we had to memorize the conditions that are necessary for this equilibrium to take place: very large population, random mating, no natural selection, no immigration/emigration, and no mutation. We talked about why those criteria are necessary for keeping the allele frequencies constant and that helped him remember each of those restrictions.  After establishing the basis for the Hardy-Weinberg principle, we went over how to calculate allele and genotype frequencies.  This uses two different equations and can be confusing at first.  After showing him how to use the equations to solve for the frequencies, I gave him some practice problems.  After a rough start, he did really well by getting the last three questions right.

After a quick review at the end of the session, Eric was much more confident about the material that was on his quiz.  We got a lot done during the session and he improved a lot!