Thursday, September 18, 2014

Have You Heard of the Common Core?

And the outcry behind it?  Here is an example from G's homework.  This is the CC example printed on the page for G to use on her problems:

Problem:  6 x 89=

Solution printed on page:

6 x (90-1)=
(6 x 90)-(6 x 1)=
540 - 6 =

First thing G said was, "Where did they get the 90?"  So basically, what common core does is forces kids to write out all the steps they do in their heads automatically.  The problem is this working in the heads has a foundational basis in math facts.  The common core likes base 10 problems so they work with children to force a base 10 solution to the problems.  Simplest and fastest to the problem would be to rewrite it as:

  x  6

Or if they wish to find the base 10 then:

6 x 89 =
6 x (80 + 9)=
(6 x 80) + (6 x 9) =
480 + 54 =

But in the example printed on the page, they have introduced 90, 1 and a subtraction that is utterly unnecessary.  In the "old fashioned" way the only addition to solve the problem is the addition.  The foundations are laid.  Conceptually, the final problem I laid out is the better explanation because the child can see the 10s place being multiplied where it is not as easily seen in the second problem (simplest) I completed.

G's problem is that she does the math in her head and doesn't write down the steps.  Of course they don't really give children room to write all the steps down either.  I think what common core is missing is foundation.  If the kids don't know the math facts then when they look at a problem like this they can't see how to break the numbers down into 10s in the first place.

Another CC example is:

5 x 12 x 2 =

What they are looking for is to demonstrate associative multiplication understanding with base 10 helping to solve the problem.  So the correct written answer would be:

(5 x 2) x 12 =
10 x 12 =

G looked at it and just wrote the correct number down but didn't write the in between because honestly she didn't have too.  But since I understood what they wanted I asked her to tell me what she did first in her head and had her write the step down.  I told her that CC likes to speak of numbers as friendly; ie, base 10 or unfriendly; ie, anything else.  I told her to always look at the numbers to see if she can find the base 10 first.

The other problem with the whole write every step and break all problems down to base 10 is there are so many steps that the children will make simply stupid mistakes that will not demonstrate understanding but will demonstrate a hurried-ness and lack of clear thinking.

We always had to write down the steps of solving problems so the teacher could make sure our answers were not guesses but we still solved the problems in the easiest way or with as few steps as possible.  I am not a fan of common core and I despise Arkansas Education Dept for adopting it without understanding it.  It is awful, untested and will set our children back behind their peers around the world.  This is dangerous overreach of federal government control backed by large wealthy donors who themselves will not subject their own children to this kind of teaching.  This common core will not aid in getting kids to college unless the aim is only a 2 year so the elite can remain at the Harvards of the world.

If you follow the money, you will see a very scary trail to people who have their own best interests at heart, not the best interests of our children.  If common core remains a generation of guinea pigs (our children) will be lost!


Amy said...

Oh it is AWFUL!!!! And shame on Georgia for adopting it too! We are going to have to pull our kids out of public school and place them into a private school....angers me greatly!!!!

Vivian M said...

I don't like this new math. Memorizing multiplication tables worked better for me. Once I knew the answer, it was easier to teach me how to get to it. I feel so bad for all these confused kids and parents who are trying to learn today's math.