Sunday, November 9, 2014

What is this craziness?

From 1075 KZL Facebook Page
If we are to believe memes like this, the math currently being taught in schools has never been so meaningless. What exactly is this craziness? According to a recent NBC News story, it involves using number lines.

I understand that this approach can be confusing to adults who were taught an algorithm without really understanding why it works. Unfortunately, many of these adults have forgotten how memorizing rules without reasons made them feel as a kid.

As students, we wanted our mathematical efforts to make sense. But instead, we got little ditties like, "Mine is not to question why, just invert and multiply." So we made up that doing math simply meant following certain rules given by some authority.

It is reasonable that adults who grew up with this view of mathematics might be confused by instructional approaches meant to foster the development of mathematical understanding rather than rote rules. However, my primary concern is the confusion of the kids not the adults. To do otherwise is not only crazy, it is insane.


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