At a Glance - When You Get Stuck
Like a truck. In the mud.
Sometimes, when working out a math problem, we get stuck. Our tires are spinning like crazy, but we aren't moving forward a hair. Here's a neat trick: figuring out why we're stuck often tells us what we need to do to get un-stuck.
Solve the equation
We haven't seen anything like this equation before. We've seen things like it, but not exactly...we've seen other equations, but we...oh, you know what we mean. The x is in the denominator of the fraction instead of in the numerator. Because we don't know what to do about that, let's get the x out of the denominator. Quickly, before it causes any trouble. Let's try multiplying both sides of the equation by x.
1 = 10x
From here, we know what to do. Divide both sides by 10 to finish up.
Next time you get stuck on a problem, write a note in the margin saying, "I don't know what to do here because...(fill in the blank)." For example, you might write, "I don't know what to do here because there's a freaky-looking x in the denominator." See if knowing why you're stuck helps you find a way to get un-stuck. It may surprise you how much simply writing down the point of confusion can help you clear away the cloud. If that doesn't work, you can always try a rain dance.