The brave new world of Common Core educational standards has drawn much criticism, some of it justified. Christine Rousselle, writing in TownHall, takes exception to the Common Core method of teaching addition and subtraction. See her article here.
I will reproduce the examples Rousselle used to demonstrate the new “new math” and add my own comments. Through these examples think of how you would solve the questions in your head, and then ask yourself if the Common Core method is a good way to teach basic arithmetic, or will it just confuse the kids?
Example 1 Subtraction: This one is fairly simple (correct answer is C)
I have to admit that this is the way I normally do it and so does my wife.
Example 2 Addition, it gets more complicated.
How did you add 26 + 17 in your head? Was it old school: Did you say 6 + 7 = 13, write down the 3, carry the one and add 1 + 2 + 1 = 4 to make 43?
I can understand what Common Core is trying to do, but their method seems awkward to me.
I would do it this way: 20+10 = 30, then 6 + 7 = 13, 30 + 13 = 43.
Here is another example from Rousselle’s article, a word problem:
“There were 54 apples set aside as a snack for 3 classes of students. The teachers divided up the apples and placed equal amounts on 9 separate trays. If each of the 3 classes received the same number of trays, how many apples did each class get?” (Answer is 18, 54 divided by 3.)
Rousselle complains that the second sentence is totally irrelevant, which it is, and would tend to confuse the kids. That, too, may be true, but in real world problems one often gets irrelevant information. What do you think?.