Chariho School Parents’ Forum

July 31, 2008

Straight from the horses mouth

Filed under: Math — Editor @ 1:01 pm

Anchorrising picked up a story on new math.  What I consider a weakness, the advocate of new math suggests is its strength.

One problem, [Pat Cooney, math coordinator for six public schools in Ridgefield, CT,] says, is that parents remember math as offering only one way to solve a problem. “We’re saying that there’s more than one way,” Cooney says. “The outcome will be the same, but how we get there will be different.” Thus, when a parent is asked to multiply 88 by 5, we’ll do it with pen and paper, multiplying 8 by 5 and carrying over the 4, etc. But a child today might reason that 5 is half of 10, and 88 times 10 is 880, so 88 times 5 is half of that, 440 — poof, no pen, no paper.”The traditional way is really a shortcut,” Cooney says. “We want kids to be so confident with numbers that it becomes intuitive.”

The problem is when an equation isn’t that simple, say with larger or fractional numbers.  The “traditional way” provides a foundation from which to build the more “intuitive” methods – not the reverse.

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May 13, 2008

Good news for math?

Filed under: Math — Editor @ 3:35 pm

There is an update over at the “Analysis Math” page.  Asst. Superintendent provided some information regarding Dr. Quirk’s concerns.

April 19, 2008

2008 TERC Math vs. 2008 National Math Panel Recommendations

Filed under: Math — Editor @ 6:02 pm

Bill Quick, who has visited before, has notified us of a new report titled, 2008 TERC Math vs. 2008 National Math Panel Recommendations.  From the report:

TERC 2008 Math Fails to Provide the Foundations of Algebra

A major objective of elementary math education is to provide the foundations for algebra, the gateway to higher math education.   Although we call it “elementary math,” K-5 math content is quite sophisticated and not easy to master.   But constructivist math educators believe that concrete methods, pictorial methods, and learning by playing games are the keys to a stress-free approach.  This is the approach found in the second edition of TERC’s Investigations in Number, Data, and Space(TERC 2008).  Unfortunately, as we will explain below, TERC has achieved their “easy to learn” objective by eliminating the content that’s necessary for later success in algebra.  What is this necessary content?  That question  has been at the heart of the “math wars” debate.  For many years opposing sides have failed to communicate.  But a 4-year search for common ground has now reached consensus.  The March 2008 Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (NMP) clearly identifies the “Critical Foundations for Algebra.”   The primary purpose of this paper is to show how TERC 2008 misdirects students and fails to provide the “foundations of algebra” K-5 math content identified in NMP 2008.  [For a brief analysisof TERC 2008 math, click on TERC 2008 Math vs. NMP 2008 Math: A Snapshot View.] 
The complete set of TERC 2008 5th grade materials, provided by NYCHOLD, served as the primary source for this paper.  The reader will find a much more limited view by clicking on TERC 2008 Curriculum by Contentand following links to PDF documents.  Some of these links will be given in context below. 
 

 

The complete set of TERC 2008 5th grade materials, provided by NYCHOLD, served as the primary source for this paper.  The reader will find a much more limited view by clicking on TERC 2008 Curriculum by Contentand following links to PDF documents.  Some of these links will be given in context below.