“The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas

Monday, March 03, 2014

Common Core seems pretty stupid

My kids are long out of grade school so they, and I, were never burdened with learning math any way other than the tried and true way it's always been taught....the old fashioned way.

It is my understanding that as part of the Common Core teaching strategy, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students are given different ways to work problems such as the one in the picture.....to train them to "think" about it correctly. I get that, but I've heard many frustrated parents say that their kids are being forced to learn math the new, convoluted way, even if they understand it the old way. My colleague here at work says that her daughter can work 3-digit addition/subtraction problems the old way with "carrying" and "borrowing", the way we learned it as kids. But if she arrives at the correct answer and didn't show her work the new way, which neither she or her mom can make sense of, then she receives an "F" for doing it incorrectly, even having gotten the right answer.

Am I missing something or is this how Common Core is taught in grade schools now?

I'd like somebody to explain the problem above to me. Where did the numbers in the box come from? And how does doing the problem this way make the concepts more understandable and clear?


david said...

There are standards and then there is a methodology. I am not against standards which will allow all States to be measured against, well, a standard. The sticky part is whose standards are they? I cannot see a way where politics will not commandeer the process subverting any genuine conversation about what our young human capital needs to know to be competitive in the world.

I am against the "new math". The old math put men on the moon and help the USA prosper until our progress was checked by political correctness. There is the baby d there is the bathwater. One goes, the others stays (and does math homework).

Michael Adams said...

It took me a few minutes, but I understand how this works:

It starts with the original problem 32-12, which is 20. This problem works backwards. It asks the question, "from 12, what do we add to reach 32?"

Then it breaks that question down into simple math problems:

1) Starting from 12, add 3 to get 15
2) From 15, add 5 to get 20
3) From 20, add 10 to get 30
4) From 30, add 2 to get 32

Now you sum the numbers we added (on the right side of each equations: 3, 5, 10, 2 = 20

I tested this against a few other subtraction problems and it works consistently:

13+ 2 = 15
15+ 5 = 20
20+20 = 40
40+ 3 = 43

20+30 = 50
50+5 = 55

16+ 4 = 20
20+40 = 60
60+ 2 = 62

Ed said...

Nicely done Michael. I'm impressed.

So what's your take on this teaching methodology? Does it legitimately train critical and creative thinking or is it just the product of self-important education bureaucrats and academics in government trying to justify their jobs?