It was a simpler time. We all had the pee-chee folder with the 12X12 table for quick reference. We all knew the answer if someone asked what is 12×11. We memorized the table from ones to twelves in elementary school.
Can you do it in your head? Do you take out a pen and paper and come up with the answer? Use a calculator? Most of us have learned our times tables by 3rd or 4th grade, along with general principles necessary to do math problems in our head or quickly on a scratch sheet of paper. That was then.
Now we have common core math: Someone asks you what is 12×11. You must break it down. You do 12×10 first. You’re left with 12 x 1, so simply add 1 as in: 12 x 10 = 120 + 12 = 132. Do you see what just happened?
Common core is not about getting you an answer most directly. It’s about how you can break down difficult problems into smaller simpler problems by using methods that you, yourself, know how to use best. For those of us who are trained in traditional math methods, it’s a process that happens naturally when we do problems in our head. That process is now being taught in our schools as “common core state standard” for math.
Everyone has been using common core math in some way or another all along; they just didn’t realize it as it was a natural occurrence.
That said. It may be time to rethink the common core state standards and go back to traditional math. Since the state of California adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in math, we have seen a steady and disturbing decline in math scores for students across the state. It is possible that we need to trust the process and teach kids the traditional math concepts and formulas that we learned and let them gradually and innately transfer that knowledge to their minds rather than just teach math as we do it in our heads. Just a thought. We are obviously doing something wrong or we wouldn’t have this universal math score crisis.
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