It’s this type of drivel that forces to kids to feel ashamed (‘stupid’) at a young age, and onto thinking they are ‘bad at math’ (How many rounds of public embarrassment, such as having to answer this in class in front of your friends, would it take?)

This has nothing to do with mathematics, or being numerate for that matter. What this does have to do with, however, is following meaningless instructions which are ‘taught’ in substitute of simply teaching actual arithmetic.

]]>It’s not that the exercise is not a good one, but that there really needs to have been some more thought put into the takehome sheets

]]>The idea is that young students should become fluent in the mental re-arrangement that most people who are fluent in math do subconsciously.

When we add 8 + 3 in our heads, some people add 8 + 3 directly, while others see that you can add 2 to 8 to get 10, and 1 more “spills over” to get 11. It turns out this second way is a great way to think about numbers, and helps with much harder sums later on. The same kinds of skills are used when you multiply 8 x 16, and realize that you can simply add 8 x 10 and 8 x 6 together.

Many people, including those in this comment thread, look at things like this and “despair.” I despair when I read those comments, because it shows that, when it comes to learning, far to many people are stuck in the notion that “If what *I* was taught in 1973 was good enough for *me*, then it should be good enough for anyone. Why change how math is taught?”

No: if evidence and research show otherwise, embrace new teaching techniques.

(Full disclosure: I’ve worked for a NSA-funded non-profit educational software and research company for the past four years.)

]]>Oh, and if the teacher gave instructions on the homework, which they will inevitably say, how many kids (after other sections being taught) will remember what said instructions are once they are home with Mom & Dad.

]]>you should call the teacher, in our version there is a take home strategy guide for the parents who are stuck in the old system of math.

The real fun comes in a couple years when they start requiring more then one solution to the problems. I have a very literal and straight forward daughter, who when asked what 2×2 is will just write 4, and get annoyed that she has to show several ways of getting it. this system requires the student to fully understand the ways in which you get four. which seems tedious and stupid when they are young, but as they get older and learn more complicated math concepts this kind of thinking works much better.

]]>My guess: Since 10 is not one of the numbers that appear in the first-column of sums, they’re not learning “fact families” (sets of problems involving the same three numbers to show their relation). In problem 1, the first square probably gets a 3 (as in the first column), and the answer would be 13. And so forth. It might be to show how much the answer changes when one of the numbers is larger, or to show the pattern that emerges when 10 is a number. All well & good, but it would be nice if somewhere on the sheet was an explanation of the concept or a proper example!

As a kid, I would have gotten correct answers but failed the assignment, because my partial nerve-deafness made it very hard to follow what the teacher was saying. I would have noticed there was insufficient direction on the worksheet, and in the absence of specifics I would have put any integers I wanted in the squares and worked out the sums correctly from there. I completely sympathize when my own students do the same. (And guess what? I have students who really enjoy maths, but have a terrible time in the class because of this very problem: poorly-written or nonexistent directions!)

]]>Nowadays, they call it “regrouping” instead of carrying. Not sure why this has all been made so complicated; carrying was easy enough for me.

]]>Really, this question displays a profound problem with the ability of the person who wrote/designed it to present information, and equally serious problems with the reflection and judgement of the person/committee who thought this was an appropriate thing to put in front of young children. (Note that this was not necessarily the teacher.)

Unless the point is to teach that the world is bewildering, confusing, incomprehensible and nonsensical, and you *will* be punished if you fail the test.

My own 1st grader has homework come home, mostly for spelling. Her latest list is words like â€˜gnomeâ€™, â€˜boughtâ€™, â€˜caughtâ€™, â€˜signpostâ€™, and â€˜ghostâ€™. That’s fine, and she can even spell them just fine. What’s the homework? *To write a fscking play!!!* Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over? Another time, it was to write a rap song!

How in the name of all that’s holy does that tangential and irrelevant make-work bullshit help her remember how to spell â€˜ghostâ€™?

Is it just me, or has it actually gotten worse since we were in school?

]]>1. 4+5=

2. 6+9=

3. 7-5=

4. Anne had three apples. George had six apples. George took Anne’s apples and ate them. Anne came at George with an axe and brutally caved in his chest. How fast is Train B going if it left the station at 6pm?

What reason is there to make it so confusing and backwards?

]]>This basically teaches them that there are different solutions to one problem and how you might go about trying to figure them out.

Of course, it could easily have been done by teaching children to count by…I don’t know what you call them, but I call the finger divisions. You know, your fingers on the palm side has 3 divisions due to the joint creases.

]]>And, seriously, some thing you just need to memorize. Addition and multiplication tables are 2 examples.

]]>For example,

Instead of a student computing 19×6 the student would reason in their head…

9*6= 54

6*10= 60

60+54= 114

This requires students to KNOW PLACE VALUE, which is a forgotten art in the standard algorithms taught for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing most of us were taught as kids.

For example, when most of us were taught to multiply, we were taught to multiply 6×9, carry the 5 and write the 4, then multiply 6×1, add the carried 5 and write 11 for an answer of 114. The problem is MOST students, and teachers for that matter don’t realize that they aren’t multiplying 6×1, they are multiplying 6×10 (the 1 is in the 10′s place). The standard algorithm works but shows no understand of number sense.

The problem on the worksheet is trying to get students to realize that 8+3=10+1.

I know that it is frustrating to parents…heck, it is frustrating to me as a teacher, to unlearn a flawed way of thinking, but trust me, students today, if taught, will have a much greater understanding of numbers than we did.

Hopefully I didn’t ramble too much!

Bryan McDonald

]]>This is what is happening with my brother. Despite the fact that he performs well with the actual math once he figures out what the assignment is, he believes he is dumb because it’s so hard for him to understand the instructions in the assignments.

Having arguably good theory behind one’s workbooks does not excuse them from actually making the attempt to educate (communicate) with those workbooks.

I honestly could care less if they wish to teach math differently from how it was taught to myself and my parents, but I do expect them to actually teach something. Stranding children in the dark with vague and nonspecific directives laid out amidst an unclear presentation of information is cruel at best and deliberately negligent at worst.

]]>When I was at primary school I developed a finger counting method that allows counting to 99, without realising no-one else did it. What you do is use the right hand fingers for 1′s, and the thumb for 5′s, which gives 1 – 9 on that hand. The left hand is the same, but counts 10′s.

My missus can’t get the hang of it.

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