10.28.2009

New Math ...

.... Neewwwww Math. It won't do you a bit of good to review math. It's so simple. So very simple. That only a child can do it. Do it. Do it*.

Tom Lehrer* was right.

As I found out last night when going over Riley's math work from class, I certainly don't do it right ... nor did I understand how the first graders were learning double digit addition. It's totally different from how I learned it over 30 years ago (though that's not saying much for my obvious lack of mathematical skills).

The way I learned to add was through a process called carrying (or regrouping). It was to add together the 'ones' place first, carrying to the 'tens' place, and then adding the 'tens' place together for the answer.

That was then, this is now ...

In new math, the kids learn addition without regrouping. They learn that each column represents a place value (namely the 'ones' and 'tens' columns). Then they learn to add each of the columns, starting with the left column (which is the 'tens' column for our purpose), and ending with the 'ones'. Then they add the columns together to get their final answer.

Here is a visual of what this old math and new math looks like...




These two-digit addition problems are very new to her. They just learned them yesterday in class (or at least it was the first time I had heard of it). When she was showing us the above problem last night she actually got a bit confused, wasn't sure how to add the numbers up the way she 'learned' it from her teacher, and ended up melting down and throwing a nice sized tantrum. Over not-getting-it-right. Oh the drama. Not knowing that her way and my way of adding weren't the same, she threw an even bigger fit when I tried to show her how to add these numbers up by carrying. As I was clearly told, I was not doing it right... aka, her teacher hung the stars, the moon, and the sky, and it's her way or the highway.

So today I went in to Riley's class and sheepishly asked her teacher to show me how to add the above problem her way. I needed to know how to do it "right" ... so that I could help her in the future with her math homework.

The funny part? Knowing that in a few weeks when they start subtraction without regrouping, I'll be heading right back to her classroom, asking the first grade teacher to show me how to do it.

I just await the day that we have to Skype with my dad for math tutoring, as my abilities end with multiplication and division. And Matt's? Well, he's still counting the above problem on his fingers and toes ...




If you're familiar with Tom Lehrer, you'll recognize his catchy New Math song ... a favorite of mine growing up!

21 comments:

Rachel said...

Our kids learn to add two digit numbers that way too (but not in 1st grade!) - it makes little sense to me. They also use this program called Chicago (Everyday) Math which I can't stand - instead of teaching to mastery they use a spiraling curriculum where they touch on things for a day or two and then move on. Crazy!

Z. Marie said...

Hmmm, Laura has learned it (at two different schools) pretty much the way we did umpteen years ago, although they do call it regrouping instead of carrying. But it's good to know Owen might be learning it a different way.

Mom24 said...

That seems crazy to me, although I'm very jealous that she's learning two digit addition at all. Julianna's class is seriously not passed 2+4 yet. Grrr.

Christy said...

My mathematical skills are a joke - I do somehow sometimes get the right solution, but the way my brain finds it always makes other people (like my husband - I mean really, who else would I tell this to?) laugh outloud. hehe. Good luck with subtraction in a few weeks!

Donna said...

Just you wait until 4th grade! We have Everyday Math here in Beijing, and I'm not liking it too much. Funnily enough, tomorrow I am attending my own math class - the teachers are having a seminar for parents to teach us what we need to know. It's about time, too. I'm okay at the addition now, but the subtraction really kills me. Good luck.

Teresa said...

I had the same problem. Luckily the teacher allowed us to use EITHER way, which did not help our daughter much, but at least let me feel less of a moron. The only thing that seems to help J cope with the math is abacus and the LRC math program "TouchMath". Those two have really helped her. It's pretty freaky, though, when both parents (one an engineer!) look at a first grader's math paper and say "WHAT?!"
Teresa

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

Uhh, that's what again?

I hate math.

I learned it your way too. WHich is basically the same as Rileys but we did it in our head (if that makes sense rather than write it out as two seperate answers to get the total answer.)

Thankfully CP is kick butt at math. I'll let Thor come to me when he needs help with something easy like english.

Stephanie said...

That is crazy! Ive never seen it done that way! I'm a "carrier" as well!!

Jen said...

I am so confused. Thankfully, I have a husband that likes math. He can help the kids.

Karen said...

That looks like Everyday Math, which leaves me baffled every time I have to help my daughter with it. Really, could they have made it any tougher on the parents???

Michelle said...

When we were living in NM our neighbor was a teacher's assistant in one of the Kindergarten classes on base. I don't remember how we got on the subject but she was talking about the way they teach math now, and I think it was called Everyday Math" and it left me baffled. "You mean there is another way to do addition? you don't carry over? huh?" It sounded so confusing to me and I couldn't believe I was going to have to learn a new way of doing math just so I would know how to help Kayla when the time came! What was wrong with the old way of carrying over?!

Ramit said...

I have the worst math ever. Your way is great but oe you get the hang of the way Riley wants to do it things will be a little easier when you're out grocery shopping. Your way is good with a pen and paper and most mathematical problems. Riley's way is good to do stuff while not having a pencil and paper. Try it. :-) Good luck!

Ramit said...

Typo: ...great but once you get...

Natalie said...

Huh. It makes sense both ways, now that I look at it, but goodness, I remember school being less demanding...when does she start calculus again?

My goal is going to be to stay just far enough ahead of my daughter that I don't look like a moron when she comes to me. I remember being very good in school, but oh, that was looooong ago... :)

Natalie said...

Huh. It makes sense both ways, now that I look at it, but goodness, I remember school being less demanding...when does she start calculus again?

My goal is going to be to stay just far enough ahead of my daughter that I don't look like a moron when she comes to me. I remember being very good in school, but oh, that was looooong ago... :)

Tenakim said...

my kids have learned the old way, too, and it too me a second to get it by looking at your example. But there have been a number of things that have been taught differently than when I was younger and I feel like such a dummy asking the teachers for clarification of grade school classes. Like I need another reason to feel embarassed at that school when I rarely where a bra to pick them up!

Crystal said...

I will be in the same boat as you, going to the teacher to explain the "right" way to do it. Yikes, I better study up on that~

Crystal said...

I will be in the same boat as you, going to the teacher to explain the "right" way to do it. Yikes, I better study up on that~

American in Norway said...

WHHHYYY? They do it different here to... everything left to right... nothing on top.. whats THAT about?

Shannon said...

That is the most confusing thing ever. Math has NEVER been my strong point... so glad it's Shane's, so he can help the girls with their math homework!

wildwood178 said...

I don't understand why would they get rid of the old math to replace it for a joke? There's gotta be some money involved!!! Our kids are perfectly capable of learning the only math that has been taught for years? What are these clowns trying to say that this generation is more stupid therefore they need an easier way to get to the answer!!! This generation happens to be very smart, Whoever is in charge of this new crap should be hung!

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