## From Stuck to Done in Nine (Minutes)

All across the U.S., algebra students have been working on slopes and linear equations in class. This means lots of homework questions about slope, plotting lines on a graph, and finding intercepts. And sometimes, it also means confusion.

Luckily, students have access to Tutor.com in their schools, libraries, or homes, where they can connect to a tutor and get one-to-one help with their homework questions.

We were reviewing recent sessions and found that a handful of students had questions about finding the slope of a line when given the points.

This particular student asked his or her tutor for help to “find the slope of the line that passes through the points (1,2)and (7,7)

Want to see how the tutor helped finding the slope? Need help with your own slope questions? Check out the session:

Within nine minutes of help, the question was answered, the  slope formula committed to memory, and the student left the following comment:

I was having difficulty on my homework, so i logged on got a tutor and he helped me alot! Now i completely understand everything! Thank you!”

What homework questions will you be asking a tutor?

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Posted in Students, We HelpComments (1)

## It was good. It was like I was getting help from a teacher at my kitchen table.

Last week, there were hundreds of students looking for help with “algebra expressions.” One particular student was struggling with the distributive property.

The frustrated student then accessed Tutor.com through his local library and connected with a tutor. About a half hour later, the student understood how you apply the distributive property to his equation, worked on similar problems with the tutor and got his homework done. No more frustration.

You can watch his session:

If you’re also struggling with algebra expressions, the distributive property, you can have a session or check out these resources from our SkillsCenter:

Multiplying Out the Distributive Rule

Commutative, Associative, and Distributive Properties

Basic Rules of Algebra

## Multiplying Monomials: Great Session Stories

“He really did help, breaking things down step by step shows me how to do the problem.”

Every night, we get thousands of amazing comments from students who connect to our tutors.

But a great comment from a student is only part of the story. Allow me to set the scene:

At 9:20pm on Thursday night, a 10th grade student had a homework question about multiplying monomials. She signed on to Tutor.com (offered by her local school) and was connected to live, one-to-one help on her specific question.

Here, you can watch the session unfold.

And less than 22 minutes later that same student understood her algebra question and left the comment you read above.

That’s one more student who finished her homework, got to bed on time and can wake up for class feeling prepared.

Just another night at Tutor.com.

## Order of Operations is Important

Whether you’re new to algebraic expressions or working on complicated equations, remembering the order of operations is crucial to getting the correct answer.

The order of operations is frequently referred to as PEMDAS. “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” is the longer version of this mnemonic. Both try to remind the user to follow the order of operations:

Parenthesis: First do the arithmetic in the parentheses. This is not only the correct first step, but helps simplify what could look like a long problem.

Exponents: Next up is exponents. By getting these out of the way, you’ve simplified the equation even further. The rest is easy!

Multiplication

Division

Subtraction

## How to get help using PEMDAS

Sometimes you need help, even when you have a roadmap. We have you covered. Our SkillsCenter Resource library has tons of resources to help you with algebraic equations and order of operations, and it’s built into the Tutor.com Learning Suite. Check your local library to see if the Learning Suite is available in your area, or find videos, worksheets and more free of charge at our website.

To get you started, here are some of our highly rated resources:

Using Order of Operations

Multiplying Out the Distributive Rule

Order of Operations

Order of Operations with Exponents

Need more help? Connect to a tutor!

## NASA, Flying and Slope Formula

NASA recently released a new “Fly By Math” simulator as part of their Smart Skies program. They are calling it “a fresh look at traditional distance-rate-time problems.” This is a great way for students to see a practical application of linear equations.

The other day I was flying my favorite plane 8,000 feet above the ground, slicing across the sky at about 200 miles an hour, when I realized that I needed to whip out the old slope formula from algebra:  Y = MX + B.

Flying a plane isn’t like driving a car.   When you’re up high, going fast, your plane is loaded with “potential energy” that needs to be dissipated during the approach to landing.    Part of being a good pilot is about managing that energy wisely by descending at a rate that is efficient in terms of lift/drag ratio, fuel usage, passenger comfort, and of course safety.   (Flying along at 8,000 feet until you get to your airport and then spiraling down to a landing would be inefficient, wasteful, and weird for the passengers, who prefer smooth descents.)

As I did my math I realized that I wanted to stay up relatively high that day because the winds were in my favor and also because the temperature at 8,000 feet was about 20 degrees cooler than on the ground on a hot day. I settled on a 500 foot-per-minute descent rate (slope) and then got out my pencil to do the math to figure out how far away I should begin my decent.

I calculated that flying at a speed of three miles per minute, while descending 500 feet per minute would mean that I would get six miles closer to the airport for every 1,000 feet of altitude that I descended.    Being 8,000 feet above the ground therefore meant that I would need to start my descent forty two miles before my destination for a nice glide right to my home runway.

Lucky for me, the air traffic controller that day was able to give me the exact descent rate (slope) that I wanted.   But it doesn’t always work out that way, usually because there are lots of other planes up there, and the air traffic controllers must make sure we all land safely.   It’s times like these that I am glad I paid attention in algebra class.

Bart Epstein is the Senior VP, Corporate Development and General Counsel at Tutor.com. He has previously written about his love of flying and volunteer Angel Flights.

Posted in News and Other StuffComments (1)

## Tutor.com Helps Algebra Students

Here are just some of the (unedited) comments from students in the past week who had questions about their algebra homework, tests, quizzes and assignments.

• thanks to tutor.com, since im in my second year of algebra II, this year tutor.com helped me rise from a D to an A- for my 1st semester compairing to last year’s…THANK YOU TUTOR.COM, WE APPRECIATE YOUR SERVICES - 11th grade student, California
• Awesome tutors.  This program has really helped me a lot.  Thank you for all that you do. – College student, U.S. Air Force
• i have been struggling in Alg. 2 for most of the semester and since i have all core classes right now i`m not ellegible for tutoring… But since i found this site and have had help reviewing i have made two 100 on tests. thanks so much for putting this site out here cause i would prob fail without it! – 9th grade student, Alabama
• Jill was very helpful and no matter how many queaastions i asked her she was still kind and helped me. Also she didnt just tell me the answer she helped me figure it out on my own. this was super helpful! – 7th grade student, U.S. Air Force
• thanks for the help! it was really, well for lack of a better word, helpful! – 10th grade student, Intel Corporate Benefits program
• I loved my tutor, Susan. She was really helpful and quick to respond. She explained how to handle the square roots in problems and clarified concepts my teacher didn’t bother to explain in class. It was a HUGE help. I’m glad this service is offered- please continue with it! :] – 10th grade student, Illinois
• I cannot thank this service enough! It’s awesome and I’m really glad that this is available! I have a quiz tomorrow, and I haven’t really been understanding these concepts and a friend reccomended this service to me awhile ago, and I have used it before and I will use it for a long time to come. I am really happy and now I just have to ace that quiz! - 7th grade student, Florida
• This is a great program for those of us who are trying to finish our degrees onlie and need assistance.  THANKS – Adult learner, USMC
• If I went on to this website the second i needed help instead of going to google or ask.com, i woul accomplish so much more throughout the day; I expect myself to take advantage of this efficacious service. – 10th grade student, Arlington
• I cannot thank this service enough! It’s awesome and I’m really glad that this is available! I have a quiz tomorrow, and I haven’t really been understanding these concepts and a friend reccomended this service to me awhile ago, and I have used it before and I will use it for a long time to come. I am really happy and now I just have to ace that quiz! – Parent of a 9th grader, Alabama
 thanks for the help! it was really, well for lack of a better word, helpful!