It has become a bit of a sport to mock common core math problems. The amount of explaining and figuring has parents suggesting that the easiest way to do math is still to line the numbers up and then perform the operations. The thing is, I learned math this way. And, I can do math. But, I didn’t really understand it until I took a class on teaching math during my graduate program in education. The teacher taught us math using manipulatives. He want back to the basics, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and showed us how it worked using squares, blocks, and lines. I couldn’t believe it. I had so much fun and it felt like a new world had opened for me. Suddenly, I knew why I got the numbers that I did. I learned several ways to come to the same answer. I could see it, literally see the answer, right in front of me.
That is what the Common Core does. It asks teachers to make sure children can show how to solve a problem and why it works. Because, in life, we don’t solve problems that look like this: 124-65= _____. We see problems that look like this: Shoot, it’s 2:40 and I have to be at the school to pick up my kids at 3. It takes me twenty minutes to drive there but I need to stop and pick up some dish soap and that will take me fifteen minutes. Can I make it?
So, doing problems in neat lines with sharp pencils just simply isn’t real life.