Math Education, An Inconvenient Truth

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by cast iron, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

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    This is a very well done video that illustrates the absurdity surrounding much of the math eduction that is taught in public school these days.

    I realize the video is very long, but I think it does a very good job of visually illustrating the problem, and her summary at the end is definitely worth watching.

    Wayne

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr1qee-bTZI&mode=related&search=[/ame]
     
  2. Cheryl in SD

    Cheryl in SD Living in the Hills Supporter

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    Thank you, Wayne.

    Singapore Math does work. All of my kids are scoring 85%tile or above in math using only Singapore. My 2nd grader scored 97%tile, missing only 2 problems on the test.

    There is a reason they are doing so much better than we are.
     

  3. lsulenes

    lsulenes Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the link. I may send it to my principal just as an FYI for him. It was definitely eyeopening.

    I am a teacher and I am horrified that a school might choose these curriculum as their math program by themselves without teaching the basics we have all learned. I am not currently under contract so I am not in the main loop with new textbooks for the districts that I sub in. I have heard colleagues speak of Everyday Math, but would never believe it should be recommended for the general education classroom curriculum (especially as a stand-alone textbook).

    As a special education teacher, I understand why this curriculum is a necessary one, but here in KS (or at least our district) Everyday Math {or similar type} is only used with the students who are in need of a different curriculum than their classmates {usually in the sped ed resource room}. We use it for students who can't memorize their math facts and must be able to operate a calculator to survive lower level math. These same students won't be taking algebra ll or geometry in high school and will probably go on to work in a vocational job that may require the skills that are taught.
     
  4. doohap

    doohap Another American Patriot

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    VERY informative. I had no idea! Thanks for the link. I'm forwarding it on to all those I know who have children or grandchildren in school.

    Thanks!
     
  5. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I have dial up, and it would take a VERY long time for me to load this!

    Can you tell me what the problem is? I have been keeping track of new math programs ever since my son had such a problem with Saxon Math. (The problem with Saxon math is that they teach it through rote memorization, and my son can memorize nothing unless he understands WHY!)
     
  6. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Terri: You have hit upon why all curriculum should include all types of learning. Math curriculum should involve hands-on physical representation of what is happening mathematically as well as memorization later of math facts. Its not a one or the other type of thing. Even kids who are not good at memorization should be taught ways to do it (in addition to the "why" we do it.)

    Parents should incorporate math into their daily lives by having them count the change that makes up their allowance, count the number of forks at the table or the pieces of pie that make up 1/2. There are simple ways that make HUGE differences in the Math awareness and confidence of children.

    You don't have to be a math whiz to help your kids in this way. Just practical.
     
  7. emulkahi1

    emulkahi1 Well-Known Member

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    Holy Cow! I am glad that I am not learning to do double digit multiplication via that cluster problem method! I was completely lost by the 2nd step, and that wasn't even half way through solving the problem! Why on earth make something so difficult to learn, when there is a much simpler method to teach the very same concept? Math can be tricky enough on its own, w/o making it even harder.

    Erin
     
  8. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Now that I have seen the video I can tell you what is going on that you may not as parents.

    First--the result of the No Child Left Behind is that all school learning is focused on children being able to "pass" multiple choice tests--in this case in math.

    Because of the time factor, less time is being spent on actually learning how to solve the problem and more time is spent being able to "estimate" the answer so you can choose amongst three or four choices (with one or two obvious errors).

    When I was in school we were taught to solve the problem. REcently when I went back to school and had to take national exams, I had to relearn how I looked at math. I had to Learn (not RELEARN, because I was not taught how to estimate with specificity) to solve by estimating.

    I believe it's a nice add-on to math education, but I also feel that this is not the best way to teach kids math concepts. I do agree that there are more than one way to solve problems and that it helps to talk out ways you might solve problems, but these alternative algorithms do not work for the general population.

    I have heard that in special ed they use alternative algorithms, but in my mind if you cann't understand how to carry a number when you multiply, you surely cannot do these more complicated algorithms.

    BTW: before you criticise teachers, they must teach the adopted curriculum. The commentator on the video makes a good point--these new methods means that parents cannot help their children with math.
     
  9. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I learned cluster math in the fifth or sixth grade. It taught me a LOT, and helped me with the middle-school math classes that I had in later years.

    There was, however, one HUGE difference! Cluster math was considered to be ADVANCED math, and we were tested to make sure we were rock-solid on double-digit multiplication FIRST!

    Am I understanding that the kids are TAUGHT multiplication by these methods? That is a bit like going from addition to geometry with nothing in between!

    By the way, if the computer allows it I will try to set up cluster math in an easier format:
    (Please ignore the dots: I needed then to line up the numbers)


    26x31=.....20x31=620
    ................6x31=186
    .......................+___
    ........................806

    OR...........20x31=620
    ................5x31=155
    ................1x31= 31
    ......................+___
    .......................806

    The idea that formulas could be changed to something simpler and still get the same results was really empowering! But, I think I would have HATED math if I had been taught this to START with!
     
  10. CatsPaw

    CatsPaw Who...me?

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    never heard of "cluster math" before.

    [aside: i don't have children and I'm 51 yrs old and I haven't seen the video.]

    It appears cluster math is the way I've been doing math in my head for years. I wasn't taught it. It was just a logical way of doing it in my head.

    [beginning of rant, you may skip this]

    Personally, I'm not impressed with the education of any young person these days. My wife works for a very small company. On occasion, she interviews someone to be a graphic designer (that's what she is.) Coming out of Indiana University (amongst other things an art school), these kids can't design, can't run the industry standard apps. like photoshop and illustrator, AND they expect of start at $30-$40K (which is what the profs. are telling them they can get.) I have no idea what they are being taught, but, it apparently has nothing to do with graphic design.

    I routinely run into kids that expect to make alot of money yet can't function in real life. It's hard to find good help in the trades because shop is no longer taught.

    If parents and teachers would stop worrying about suing or being sued because someone wasn't nice to their little kiddie, or the gym teacher made them do a push-up or their little pda gave them carpel tunnel syndrome or the cafeteria food had the wrong kind of fat in it.....we'd be alot better off.

    Smack'em when they're bad, make them do their chores, make them do their homework before playing video games, etc.

    Personally I'm tired of hearing about special ed. classes ( I know there are plenty of kids out there that truely need them.) But, if you listen to all the talk you'd estimate about 50%-60% of kids are in some sort of special ed. class. Attenttion defecit is one of my particularly favorite pet peeves. It's just impatience if you ask me (I don't have time to mess with this, I have to go become an internet billionaire before I'm 20...kind of attitude.) I've worked with people who use this as an excuse.

    But sometimes, some of us just have to work harder than others to get through it.

    [end of rant]

    I really think it's up to the parents to ensure their kids are getting taught what and how they need. Maybe parents just need to start forgetting about the schools and spend time with their kids. I don't think it's generally the teachers fault, since, I think they're teaching by policy of the school.

    I think [from what I've seen] this cluster math seems a logical process.

    oh yes, I think scholastic testing shows very little about a child. I did lousy in school, yet, when "tested" for over all progress (as in "IOWA"? tests) I routinely scored 99 percentile. I think these days tests are more likely to be designed to ensure the desired results to get government grants and subsidies and not look stupid compared to other countries.

    [will be checking out video later]
     
  11. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

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  12. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    In my opinion, to a degree, they ALL are. Public schools cater to the lowest common denominator. Whatever range they fit into "normal" , the slowest of that is the pace that every child must learn at. It does cause the school day to run longer than it should. It's because of the "feedlot" way schools are run.
     
  13. CatsPaw

    CatsPaw Who...me?

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    I think if I had kids that I knew about I'd probably lean towards home schooling. The only problem is all the politics if you want to go to college and stuff. But I'd rather my theoretical kids not go to college because of that and be all around smart and suceed than worry about the degree.

    Maybe they should start doing lower levels like they do college. Have the kids test out to the level they are at and take that level of course. rather than being stuck in a class that may be above them in one area and way below in another.
     
  14. Cheryl in SD

    Cheryl in SD Living in the Hills Supporter

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    You can go to college if you homeschool. Many schools have programs to actually seek out hsers. Homeschooled kids do very well at the college level. All of ours will have at least some kind of higher education.
     
  15. saramark

    saramark 1 acre homesteaders

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    reason #419 why we homeschool.

    sara
     
  16. CountryBeth

    CountryBeth Well-Known Member

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    Like Cheryl said, homeschoolers do very well in colleges. My oldest applied to four different colleges last year, all private schools. He was accepted to all. This was his first semester away from home and he had a blast and made 4.0 as well.

    Of course, many, many folks go on and succeed without college as you've mentioned.
     
  17. cindyc

    cindyc Well-Known Member

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    Well, I homeschool, and I am pretty passionate about it, but I really don't think this is about that. I currently also tutor a homeschooled 8th grader who has a 5th grade math ability. Then there is my homeschool 6th grade who is now in an 8th grade math text and competes on math competition teams. ANYBODY can get the wrong information, the wrong curricula, the wrong teacher and end up having kids who pay for it if they are not watching very carefully. I am glad that the good folks in WA who choose public school are fighting for their kids on this issue. It is really important. And as the global outsourcing of tech and engineering jobs is on the rise, it will only become MORE important with time. Sobering stuff...
    CIndyc.
     
  18. CountryBeth

    CountryBeth Well-Known Member

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    Amen!
     
  19. heather

    heather Well-Known Member

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    This is interesting -

    I haven't watched the video yet, but plan to when my coffee's ready (!)

    The problems above illustrate something that I have always done in my head -

    Personally, I think it's better to know where you get your answer than to memorize -

    I'll check back after I watch the video -
     
  20. caryatid

    caryatid Well-Known Member

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    Could someone tell me a little more about the Singapore math system. How is it different?

    My daughter currently uses the lattice system to learn multiplication (as shown on the video) and is not doing well with it.

    As for "Everyday Mathematics" in general--all I can say is that in public school my 3rd grade son was getting decent grades, not great but decent. Then we went to Montessori school where there is a more concrete way of learning math, and suddenly he gets busted back to 1st grade math! Somehow, at public school, he managed to slip through the cracks and was able to parrot the correct answers back, but had no concept of the actual *values*.

    He could tell you that (a stick) + (an upside-down L)= two circles.
    He could even tell you that One plus Seven equals Eight
    but it was much harder for him to tell you that both of those problems were the same as .+.......=........