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Post Reply Common Core Math
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Posted 3/13/15

ChinaCat89 wrote:

I tried helping my 7 year old nephew with his homework, I had no idea what to do.


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19 / F / The Infinite Noth...
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Posted 3/13/15
Cuomo introducing it to NY public schools:



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24 / M / San Francisco Bay...
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Posted 3/13/15 , edited 3/13/15
What common core math is sees how people who study mathematics intensively tends to do mental mathematics (often in incremental steps) without realizing:

a.) Mental mathematics is a far cry from a useful skill. it's like learning how to spell without referencing a dictionary or spell-checker or google when we have access to such technology all the time (in this case, the analogous device is a calculator)
b.) Common core tries to avoid the real problem math education has.

You see, arithmetic is as useful to mathematics as spelling is to English. Whereas you need to know the basics of arithmetic to do, well, complicated problems you need to know the basics of spelling to do complicated papers. However, calculators exist and so long as you have some idea what you're doing and what the overall concept is (e.g. why order operations happens in the order it does), you're fine. Likewise, spell checkers are a thing so as long as you aren't completely unfamiliar with written English you're pretty much fine.

However, what people who implement curricula like Common Core don't get is that the reason why our mathematics curriculum is terrible is because students aren't taught how to understand mathematics at a higher level. I don't mean that in any abstract way; I mean our mathematics curriculum is really shitty at helping you understand college-level ("higher level") mathematics courses. The fact more emphasize is placed on arithmetic is making the matters worse.

Here's the bottom line: mathematics isn't about numbers; inasmuch as English isn't about words. The big leap in mathematics is going from numbers like 1, 2, and 3 and going into variables that can assume an entire domain of numbers. And it's that last bit our education system does not get. In the statement 2x=4, x is not a variable. x is an unknown, completely numerable, and is in fact equal to 2. However, because "variables" are introduced this way in order to get students used to the idea that a letter can be a number, we reach a point in system where significantly more students can solve 9x=5 but not 9x=y for x even though both problems involve the same damn procedure. The reason is a mindblock wherein the idea of representing another unknown in terms of another unknown and not a concrete number is absolutely detrimental to getting anywhere in mathematics. And yet, it isn't until algebra (which is middle school for some but high school for most) do we really address this.

Put another way, algebra isn't about solving for x. It's about finding relationships between variables which leads to the idea of a function which in turn leads to mathematical modeling (which is basically finding functions to represents quantities of interest based on some parameter you can always check--e.g. time). Finding tricky ways of doing arithmetic--which common core is doing--simply is a diversion from that bigger problem.

More on that, mathematical education (both in secondary school and college) have a bad habit of wanting to introduce everything of a particular subject before moving on. For example, it wants to introduce all of algebra before going onto calculus (even though, without understanding calculus, a lot of algebra in a typical precalculus class seems awfully arbitrary). They want to introduce all of geometry before giving you a handful of results that most people use in practice. This is a big issue because it's typically linear algebra, differential equations, probability-based inferential statistics, and to a lesser extent calculus that find a lot of use in modeling. Essentially, the mathematics curriculum in high school is akin to teaching students how to spell perfectly so they can go on to write essays in college. With so much aimless spelling, it's no wonder why people think what they're learning is useless. It's not useless--rather, it just has no use on its own until you see what the most importance branches of math have to offer. Spending more time developing fancy arithmetic is, again, not useful to that end.
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19 / M / Future Gadget Lab...
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Posted 3/13/15 , edited 3/13/15


Are you kidding me?! This is an outrage...

...is what I would say if I wasn't graduating high school this year, but still. Why make something so complicated?? These politicians do not have the slightest clue as to what they are doing when passing these federal programs. All they do is throw money at any educator bringing up a possible (even if terrible) solution when education becomes a "major political issue" to them once every decade (when this should be addressed more often), hoping that the problem of education will seemingly go away so they can continue to ignore education and debate social politics all day long.

I'm sorry. I'm done...


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Posted 3/14/15

ChinaCat89 wrote:

I tried helping my 7 year old nephew with his homework, I had no idea what to do.


I took a test on Pre-Calculus the other day in which I spent like half an hour doing it (I got a 100).
The same day, I helped my 13 year old sister with her math homework.
That freaking homework took me like 1 hour.
No wonder why kids hate math. Teachers are making it so difficult when there is no difficulty.
Math: the simpler, the best.
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Rabbit Horse
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Posted 3/14/15
this reminds me of an episode from "I am weasel" (an old cartoon network, people here probably never heard of it)
where the "smart" weasel go on and on to solve a 1 + 1 problem, while the other "dumb" character solves the same problem in 1 line.
Posted 3/14/15

namealreadytaken wrote:

this reminds me of an episode from "I am weasel" (an old cartoon network, people here probably never heard of it)
where the "smart" weasel go on and on to solve a 1 + 1 problem, while the other "dumb" character solves the same problem in 1 line.


That show rocked
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Posted 3/14/15
I'll kick down my (future) kid's classroom door and raise hell with the teacher if this is the crap the public education system is teaching. There couldn't possibly be a more indirect and confusing method to teach kids simple math. This is horrible.
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Posted 3/14/15
I can't believe I'm about to even partially defend common core, but here goes. I did my undergrad degree in physics, and so I've got a pretty deep math background. I'm currently doing a master's in education and so I'm taking a lot of the educational theory courses (which I've also heard many negative things said about in this thread). I've got to say that the ideas behind common core are actually based in a lot of empirical research about teaching and how people learn. Now, that's one thing. But frequently (very very frequently) the people who go on to design some of the things which are being derided here don't get the well-researched ideas quite right in implementation. My specialty is in science education, so I'm not up to speed on a lot of the specifics of math common core. But I've glanced at it and it seems like it should be a reasonable thing. Now, does that mean that all the details are spot-on? Absolutely not. Does that mean that its actually being implemented in the way that the designers intended in every district? Highly unlikely.

One of the ideas behind a lot of newer curriculum changes is to try and get people to understand the deeper concepts behind what they do, not to memorize an algorithm and call it a day. Why is that a good idea? The further you go in math, the fewer reliable algorithms there are; you need to understand concepts behind one kind of problem and apply them to a new problem. Not to mention, learning flexible concepts is a lot more enjoyable than learning how to be a glorified (and slower) calculator. Many studies have shown that by the time kids hit, say, 6th grade, they view math and science as these things which are devoid of creativity and just get done by following the same rules over and over again. That's absolutely not what either of those subjects are. Common core had that in mind when they talk about putting less emphasis on an algorithm that gets some answer and putting more emphasis on how you think about a problem. It's not that an answer isn't important, but there are probably a dozen good ways to get to a correct answer in most math problems.

Now, I'm absolutely not going to say that Common core is a wonderful curriculum. There are absolutely aspects which are bad. But it does have some good ideas (which are supported by research) behind it. What I'm asking (although I doubt many people decided to read this far) is that we not dismiss the good ideas behind these new curricula just because there are some parts (maybe many parts) that got messed up. A few people have been saying the same thing in this thread, but I'm hoping this post will change a few more minds. Common core may not be the answer, but if we go back to the old ways that just make people reach for a calculator and hate math, then that is not any better.
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Rabbit Horse
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Posted 3/14/15
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19 / M / Future Gadget Lab...
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Posted 3/14/15


His rhetoric is fantastic. Everybody should see this.
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20 / M / gravette , arkansas
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Posted 3/14/15
i barely mastered regular math and all of a sudden oh wait you mean life DOESNT get easier in school ?? im sorry i had no idea that once you get past the basics you move on to freaking unnecessary pre algebra ,algebra ,geometry its like when the hell am i going to use this in oh idk LIFE?!?!! to cut the story short i quit high school after being continuously bullied and harassed for 5 years so yeah good job society for not putting in any effort to help me out or get it to stop seriously dont put up bullying is wrong signs if you arents going to do anything about it
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