Thursday, December 4, 2014

Math Anxiety

The shift in education currently with school districts moving to Common Core Standards has caused stress among many.  Common Core Standards have received more and more mixed reviews from many people across the country.  It seems with the use of social media school curriculums are being talked about negatively.  Math seems to be getting most of the attention.  Many years ago when our district discussed moving to these standards I was very skeptical because my love for math and I learned it the "old" way and did very well so why is that so bad.  Then I stumbled on this quote below from an educational documentary.

"Math has become a performance subject and children of all ages are more likely to tell you that it is about whether they get it or not, than they are to tell you about the beauty of the subject ore the way it piques their interest."  

Math is an amazing subject that we need to show the children the beauty of not just a subject of algorithms.  In life we always are looking for the short cut very similar to an algorithm in a math problem.  Algorithms make things easier and help us get the right answer but does not always mean we understand the meaning behind the algorithm.  This past week I have been working in a 6th grade classroom with a colleague and we have seen some amazing growth when help these students jump deeper into these problems.  

The lessons we have been doing are on solving equivalent ratios.  If you know the algorithm of this it is easy cross multiply and then divide you get the answer.  This is easy quick but can our average 6th grader explain the meaning behind this?  The answer more times then not is no because we use them the easy and quick way to get the problem not the beauty behind this problem.  With the use of visual more students are able to solve these.  Below are some examples of these notes from class.

This "new" math really is not new it is just helping us conceptually show our students the meaning of different topics.  If there is ever a time you see your children's math homework and you do not understand the "new" way of math please reach out to any staff member here at school and we would be glad to help show your children how to do these problems.

I really hope we can help students find the love for math and not be anxious about it.


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