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Monday, March 31. 2014
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Not crazy, but arduous and wastes many students' time.
This is what parents do working w/ kids. It's what math puzzles do. It's what kids do with tinkering (arithmetic exploration).
It is not what teachers do in lieu of teaching the material.
I agree with all your comments except that it wasn't crazy. As you stated, that was probably the hardest way to do that problem and worst is that it obfuscates or rather ignores the organization of base ten numbers. For this trivial example, while much more complicated than it needs to be, it could be said (I wouldn't say it) that the exercise could open a student's mind to a new way of learning how numbers work. However, when you get to something like 245876 - 187349 = ?, the student is lost and nothing he leaned about the way they did 32 - 12 = 20 will help them unlike if he had been taught about the units, tens, hundreds, etc. columns and how they "work". In fact, seeing how those columns "work" is applicable to addition, multiplication, and division.
This is idiocy on parade.
I couldn't follow that, and I have a degree in physics...
32 - 12 = 30 - 10 = 20. How much harder can it get?
When you learn a math concept based on rote memorization, guess what happens? Eventually, you can just look at a simple math problem and know the answer without any figuring at all. The example given: 32-12...as adults we can just look at that and answer '10' without much thought. A first grader, however, would be confused. You give him some blocks and have him count it out. Eventually, he will memorize the concept and no longer even have to think about it.
Doing it this crazy common core way, the child never learns to memorize anything. Simple subtraction becomes a complex list of problems to get a simple answer. No memorization is done. Thus, easy problems are not learned and you will create a lifetime of confusion.
I remember being very stressed out in the 3rd grade memorizing my times tables. But in the end, once I got them down, they have served me for a lifetime. Sure, some kids might struggle with the memorization, but we all are capable. The slower learners will pick it up through repetition, which is what your math homework should do for you!
Except that the answer is '20'.
I agree with you that because it's hard for those new to this level of mathematics is no reason to reinvent the ways to solve them. But when you make an error like that you're just proving their point. And nothing is more dangerous than validating a crazy person.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis
I agree. The concept of rote memory is vastly underestimated in my opinion. I learned multiple and addition tables by rote when I was a kid but at some point, it all made sense beyond the memorization.
About twenty years ago when my daughter was going into the 4th grade (in public school), I talked to her teacher and told her that I was pretty happy with her performance in everything except math since I thought she should know her times tables by now. I knew we were in trouble when she told me that they no longer worry about memorizing tables but rather that the kids understand the concepts. Let's see... multiplication is adding a number a bunch of times. Now, what is 9 x 7? You could just remember that 9 x 7 was 63 or you could add 9's seven times and get to the answer. Which is more reliable and quick? Of course, I don't know that they taught them that multiplication was adding a bunch of times. For all I know, they had some convoluted idea similar to the one in the video!
If you axe the instructor, she say it give de studints a different way to look at it. And plus, dem other numbers is mo betta. Da numbers what end in 5 and 0 is easy to deal wif. So, it's about diversity cupcakes and it's about makin it easy. Next week, we gonna make all de numbers ending with 3, 1, 4, 2, 6, 7, 8 and 9 go away. Dem are da bad numbers.
Hey W. C. Be careful out there. You know you can't say that just anywhere!
It could be from a vaudeville routine of 70 or so years ago, or from a scene in a '30s B movie. or from Amos n' Andy. You could say what was on your mind then. I know. I was there.
They are teaching the kids to do math much like the President and Congress do math. Except the President and Congress never need to actually give the answer they just keep on doing computations.
At first I thought she was just "winging it", making it up as she went along. But I realized she was repeating an example that was taught to her by someone. Here bizarre system is so cumbersome that probably if you gave her a simple math problem that she wasn't already tutored on she would be stumped and ramble around and finally have to admit she had no idea how to do it under the "neo math" system. But I cannot believe that this new math was intended to be a "fail" and not work as hoped for. Instead I suspect it was not created by competent experienced teachers and likely not created by anyone with a math background.
I hate to pour more gasoline on this whole teaching math the hard way issue, but frankly, speaking as a mathematician, this is just plain stupid.
Rote learning of early arithmetic tables leads to advanced arithmetic as in algebra and the beginning of early mathematics as in geometry and trigonometry. This naturally leads to calculus and from there, it's how dedicated you wish to be in the world of math. When a kid can rattle off this take away that equals such, this time that equals, etc., then that child can move on to representational arithmetic like Algebra and be successful.
If you don't have firm foundation in the basics, then you can't understand the advanced concepts no matter how hard you try.
More gasoline: A lot of the so called "math" teachers don't understand the Common Core concepts either. For pete's sake, I have an advanced degree in mathematics and have a tough time following the Common Core concepts as they are completely at odds with what I know mathematics to be.
Geez, they never heard of the number line? Then you move to doing that mentally. How about 12+10=22 22+10=32, oh look then 10+10=20? If you want to use the method shown. A bit of structured attack, first use 100, then 10, the 1s. What's with all this guessing a random number?
And the method doesn't make the students better "math thinkers". Math is formalized logic. Picking randomly doesn't help order the student's thoughts.
The sad part is there is Khan Academy where kids can go to learn legit math. But then they'll have to go to school and do ignorant math to "please the teacher". I'm all for alternative methods but those methods usually involve using the associative and commutative properties to simplify large numbers.
I picked up 'The Calculus Direct' by John Weiss. Takes you from the number line through arithmetic, algebra to calculus in 98 pages. It tells the story that is spread over so many years in K-12, ties it all together.
It won't make you an expert, but could these "new" methods lay it all out in 98 pages in an understandable fashion?
It was created by "education experts" in the department of education or some "think tank" to "reduce the frustration of having to memorize things"...
My sister's children are getting similar nonsense taught to them on the other side of the Atlantic. It's a disgrace.
And that's the reason given, that they don't want children to just learn things by rote but give them "a system using a problem solving approach they can apply to real world situations".
Wonder how well that's going to work when they have to add up 20 prices in their shopping cart to see if the result produced by the cash register is correct (where older people who learned properly can see at a glance if it's at least in the ballpark).
She didn't say it was the only way to teach subtraction, she said it was a different way among others that they teach.
It is basically the way people (used to) count change when they give it back to you.
I am not a big fan of our education system, and think the Feds need to gtfo, but Common Core is being severely demagogued and misrepresented by the right and it is making you look kind of foolish.
It is far more focused on standards and goals than curriculum and process.
I think it is being demagogued because it is just not the business of the Fed experts.
The problem with that is that there is no memorization to subtracting 12 from 32. It is intuitive. Perhaps the stated goal is to eliminate memorization but don't we all agree that the convoluted process that we saw in the video would take any of us numerous tries to remeber how to do it and then we couldn't convert that process to the next problem because it is such a bizarre system. Try it for yourself. Instead of doing the very simple 32-12=20 try replicating her process with 19-11+13=? Do you add 4 to 11 but subtract 3 from 13 using her technique or do you add 4 to 11 AND add 2 to 13. What then?? And yet the problem itself is so simple a 7 year old can do it but using the neo-math technique even adults have no idea where to start.
Also I though the comment made in the video that using base 10 was much easier then tring to subtract 12 from 32. Did she not realize that 32-12 is still base ten??? Our number system IS base ten. Honestly, to me this looked like Saturday Night Live skit. I am still not sure we aren't all being put on. I'm still waiting to hear someone shout "bazinga"!
Standards and goals are just semantic jujitsu for everybody gotta learn the same thing the same way. You can't teach to a "standard" when classes are mixed in terms of learning abilities. When classrooms have a mixture of low, middle and quick learners, the "standard" becomes the median and the dumb down of education begins.
Why do you think that religious schools (christian/catholic) and home schools perform much better than publicly educated children - or charter schools for that matter? It's because they don't teach to a standard - they teach according to ability to learn.
That's the flaw in Common Core and this New Wave math education where process is superior to obtaining a correct answer is just a symptom.
I agree on that point, the feds need to get out of education and let there be some competition in the market, but that is the argument you need to make instead of trying to create some type of Common Core boogey man that isn't there.
And I also agree with Tom below about teaching to the lowest common denominator. Public education fucked me up pretty bad by not challenging me and teaching me study habits, I coasted all the way to college and was then doomed by my own bad habits. I didn't know how to study because I had never had to.
But we still need some sort of minimum standards that should be expected of each level, what we don't need is to force aggresive, smart kids to hang around a full year waiting for the slow and average kids to catch up.
That is also a different argument that you should be making instead of focusing so much attention on Common Core.
There are some other red flags about the common core push. This push began in earnest in 2012 and was accepted in 2013. That's somewhat of a record. The educators who were asked to be on the panel to review it and accept it were required to sign a contract which prohibited them from ever discussing what went on in this "publuc" tax payer funded panel. There were no real opportunities for public participation and no discussion ahead of the "mandate" that informed the public what common core was. Additionally a substantial revenue bait was offerred to states to sign up for common core even though they had no idea what it was, how it would affect them and even if it worked. And there lies the worst problem; that it is essentially a major change to the system with absolutely no evidence that it will even work. One of the requirements for colleges and states is that they must accept any high school graduate who passes the common core requirements. This is after all a master plan to make all graduates of K-12 college ready. no more ACT or SAT if you pass the common core all "participating" colleges must accept you. Factor into this that colleges were offerred a take or leave it offer they couldn't refuse to agree to the common core standard. What this means is a high school student cannot be tested by the college to see if they need remedial math and must be placed into the entire first year curriculum withut regard to ability. The fear is that either many students will thus fail the first year of college because they are not ready for college OR the much worse and more likely possibility that colleges must dumb down the classes to accomodate the less capable students. Another part of this which upsets a lot of people is that this mandate applies to home schooled and religious schooled students too. While the home school parent might be teaching a traditional history and literature curriculum mch more rigorous then the public school and producing a smarter better educated student the student will likely fail the common core test. This appears to be a back door way of limiting or outlawing all non-public (union) schools. And worse still it appears that at least part of the goal is to propagandize students to the new world order which minimizes the rights that the left doesn't like (such as the 2nd amendment) and emphasizes rights that don't even exist.
By the way 30 highly qualified educators were selected to sit on this committee expected to rubber stam the common core program and 5 rejected it. Instead of writing a minority report on this disagreement these 5 people were "expunged" from the record and it would appear (just like the UN AGW committee) that 100% agree and the "science is settled". This has been ram rodded through in secrecy, why aren't we upset about that fact alone never mind all the other problems with it?
It is basically the way people (used to) count change when they give it back to you.
This is true. But with one major difference. Here, you need to total up all the change at the end. When you make change, the pile of money serves as the accumulator. With this method, you make the change and then count the change you just made. Twice as much work.
Also this method does not scale well for large numbers, or if the difference between the numbers is large. Ex: 99999 - 1
As a side note, the 'teacher' misuses the phrase "base ten" to mean multiples of five or ten.