Common Core Math Problem Solving

Three takeaways: First, schools who’ve had long success with tried and true approaches, including Singapore Math, might consider sticking with them before pouring lots of money into shiny new—but possibly ill-written—curricula.It would be easy for a student to lose his or her way and get frustrated amidst that information even if s/he gets the math.Worse, in this example, the model or drawing has become the “goal.” In the Singapore examples, the drawings and models are means to clear-cut ends.Take, for example, this middle school problem, also drawn from Singapore Math: Unfortunately—but perhaps predictably—as more publishers work to align their math programs to the CCSS, there is ample room for screw-ups. He also tweeted a few examples, including this one: 6 students are reading books for book clubs. In the model below, each box represents one student in the group.They are reading one of the following stories: Story A: Matilda Story B: Magic Tree House Lions at Lunchtime Story C: Superfudge 1/2 of the students are reading Story A. Complete the model based upon the information above.Note, too, that the Singapore problems—typical of what I’ve seen in Singapore Math—are text-lite.The emphasis is on numbers, manipulating numbers, and problem solving.In grade 4, students should “fluently add and subtract multidigit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.” By grade 5, they are expected to multiply whole numbers using the standard algorithm.And by grade 6, they are expected to divide whole numbers and to add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals, again using standard algorithms.While a student should ultimately be able to answer problems of this sort without visual aids, this kind of “modeling” can help lay the foundation that students need to solve increasingly complicated problems through the grades.Such “models” can be even more useful for students when it comes to making sense of fractions and answering fraction problems. gave several examples of blunders when he complained to his 3 million followers that the Common Core curriculum at his daughter’s school—with its bewildering math problems and related tests—was making her cry.


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