New? Fuzzy MathAs I was cooking dinner (I mean, warming up leftovers) the following news report caught my attention on TV:
As a teacher who hasn't taught math in many years (literacy is my specialty), I can only speak as a parent: My first question is...did they say NEW approach? In Duval County, FL we've been using Math Investigations for at least five years.
I have an daughter who is in 5th grade. She has struggled with number sense and memory skills since kindergarten. For many years I was frustrated with the multiple strategies she was learning for each new math concept. I would have been happy for her to just get ONE and be able to use it. I really longed for the "old" approach to math. I just wanted my child to be successful.
I was encouraged to stick it out through the Math Investigations. I was told she would understand better in the long run if she understood the concept. I won't lie - we had our dark days. She still struggles with memory and processing skills in the area of math, BUT the concepts she has mastered - she truly understands.
I faked my way through math. I memorized an algorithm and produced a right answer. It caught up with me in college. I ended up having to take College Algebra THREE times. I only passed by a hair. I still do not understand the concept behind most algorithms I use in my daily life.
Who got the better math education, my daughter or myself? She wins hands down. She is able to transfer her knowledge to real life situations in shopping and organizing household items. She sees the connection and is able to pull from a variety of strategies. Back to Basics math helps you complete a problem, not apply a strategy.
The 21st Century holds my daughter's future career. Whatever it may be, however math related it is...she is prepared to be a THINKER, capable of looking outside the lines for solutions. I hope that more parents will spend time asking their child about their strategies and less time looking for the "way we used to do things." We're moving forward, not back.