Saturday, March 22, 2014

Don't you want math to be better for your kids?

That's not the way I learned it! And if it was good enough for me, then it's good enough for my kid! (Along with either: "I was bad at math." or "I was good at math.")
That's how I interpret some of the posts trying to pass themselves off as examples of "bad Common Core math problems" (Google it and take a look at some of the images). Justin Aion has a great post that points out the problem with associating these examples with the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM). However, even if these examples are decoupled from the CCSSM, there's still the sentiment that these new math approaches are flawed.

Take this post, for example. The parent's letter says it all:

From Jeff Severt (some context)

"simplification is valued over complication" writes the Frustrated Parent. But is the parent's approach the simplest way to compute the difference between 4,000,002 and 3,999,999? As math educators, we encourage young mathematicians to build up a variety of computational tools so that they can attack any problem with confidence and phronesis.

Recently, my class explored the thinking inherent in the work of these third grade girls.

From The Big Dinner 
This was a Big Idea on the Multiplication and Division Landscape, Proportional Reasoning, that was new to nearly all of my preservice elementary teachers. Consequently, I followed up with a Think Aloud to reinforce the Big Idea and connected it to the CCSSM 3.OA.B.5.

Afterwards, one of the preservice teachers said, "I've never seen this before. Why?" Why, indeed. 


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  2. I think the point is by doing the doubling, or ratio table, the math can be done quickly and completely in your head. If I were asked to multiply 24 and 15 I would need paper and pencil. Common Core is trying to get the students to understand the numbers not just perform an algorithm.

  3. Did you see the parent's explanation on facebook of his "letter to Jack"? He wasn't trying to say new math was bad at all... but that virality thing happened.