In 2009, the way math was taught and the strategies used by students to solve equations changed in the United States. This new math is called Common Core. Unfortunately, it hasn’t done much for the country’s math scores.
Recent research indicates American students are still contending with math – more so than reading and writing. The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) found that 29% of US students did not show adequate numerical proficiency. Students in the UK are also struggling, with 25.4% of students lacking numerical proficiency. This is opposed to top scorers Finland, Japan, and South Korea, at 8.7%, 7.3% and 7.1%, respectively.
While experts debate different approaches or theories on how to better instruct math in the classroom, parents are grappling with helping their kids finish homework. Instead of focusing on the new math vs old math debate, parents need advice now so they can help their kids succeed in the future.
One of the best ways to help your child is by learning more about the new math style. Then you’ll be equipped to guide your child and improve their understanding of math concepts. In addition, consider quality tutoring, such as School is Easy Tutoring, to help your child succeed. Read on to learn more to support your child’s math studies!
What is Common Core Math?
Math has changed and it has left some parents wondering “just what is common core math?”
The term common core refers to the strategies and skills that students need to know so they can solve math problems. Sometimes common core math is called new math, signifying the move from memorization to a more abstract way of thinking about numbers and solving equations.
“New Math” vs “Old Math”
While old math focused largely on memorization of multiplication tables, etc. new math encourages students to use reasoning to solve real-world problems. With old math finding the right answer is the goal. New math seeks to help students develop a deeper understanding of their way of answering the problem. Students that work successfully with common core math master concepts rather than memorize answers.
Instructors will be expecting students to explain how they came to the answer to demonstrate they understand the methods. However, this puts some extra stress on students as they have to prove they understand the concept rather than just offer the correct answer.
Common Core Examples
As common core math ties learning to real-world challenges, many common core math examples are project-based.
Common core project-based math
One teacher asked her students to sell bracelets to raise money for a charity. This put the students in charge of pitching their ideas, designing and making the bracelets, budgeting the money for supplies, and selling the bracelets. This touches on several learning concepts, including math. In this common core example, students will learn more about managing money and fundraising.
Another example of common core math is to have students write out a journal entry about their assignment or project. Encourage them to answer questions like:
- What did I learn?
- What other questions do I have?
- How did the process happen?
- What tools did I use to solve the math problem?
- What could I do differently next time?
Writing a journal about their math experience enables students to connect math to the real world. They will think critically about what role numbers play in the world and gain an appreciation for their application.
Learn fact families
Students in younger grades are instructed to consider fact families when solving equations. Homework sheets will often have extra spaces underneath the equation where students can come up with other math problems that lead to the same answer. For example:
5 + 3 = 8
3 + 5 = 8
8 – 3 = 5
8 – 5 = 3
By working with fact families, students are said to develop a better understanding of numbers and how they relate to each other. It is a foundation that is needed for algebra and higher-level math.
Breaking down equations
With common core math, breaking the numbers down can help simplify the problem so it does not feel overwhelming for the student. It also builds a better understanding of numbers and how they relate to each other. For example,
49 x 25 =
Take each number and break it down.
49 = 40 + 9
25= 20 + 5
So the equation then becomes (40+9) x (20+5)
Then take the first number and multiply it by both numbers in the second equation. In this case that would be 40 x 20 and then 40 x 5.
You are left with a new equation:
800 + 200
Repeat the multiplication step with the next number, which in this case is 9 x 20 and 9 x 5. In our example, you would be left with another new equation: 180 + 45.
Finally, you take both new equations and add them together:
(800 + 200) + (180 + 45) = 1225
This approach is called the FOIL method.
How You Can Help Your Child if They Are Struggling?
It’s not easy to see your child struggle at school. But there are ways that you can help your child understand common core math. Here are some tips to help your child grasp new math.
1. Gain knowledge about new math or common core yourself
You can’t teach what you don’t know or understand. So, brush up on your math skills and challenge yourself to learn common core. It may be tricky at first, but start small. You can talk with your child’s teacher and they should be able to offer you some resources to help you understand. There are also plenty of common core math examples available to help you.
2. Find a tutor who specializes in common core
When parents do not have the time to learn and don’t currently have an understanding of common core, it can be frustrating. But it doesn’t have to be. Finding a tutor who can help your child with common core math can relieve the stress for both of you. At School is Easy, we understand the challenge that students – and parents – face when tackling common core math.
We can assist you in finding a math tutor that fits your family. Our tutors are skilled at various math subjects, including algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and elementary math.
Give your child the best opportunity to master common core math. Visit our site to learn more and book a tutor today!