Thursday, January 8, 2009

Math problems of the week: 3rd grade Everyday Math vs. Singapore Math

1. From the very end of the 3rd grade Everyday Math curriculum, Student Math Journal, volume 2, p. 316:

2,384 + 1 = ________
2,384 + 10 = ________
2,384 + 100 = ________
2,384 + 1,000 = ________
2,384 + 10,000 = ________

2. From the very beginning of the 3rd grade Singapore Math curriculum, Primary Mathematics 3A, p. 15:

Fill in the blanks:
5409 + ________ = 5419
5409 + ________ = 6409
5409 + ________ = 5410
5409 + ________ = 5509
5409 + ________ = 7008
5409 + ________ = 7098
5409 + ________ = 7998
5409 + ________ = 6999


Lori said...

Third grade Everyday Math teacher checking in again. Instead of pulling random comparison problems, perhaps it would be more beneficial to look at the scope and sequence of both programs. The activities in the Singapore example are also taught in EM in the first journal in many different forms. You will see them as "broken calculator activities" and frames and arrows.

lefty said...

What's concerning is how Everyday Math is still spiraling back to this kind of easy problem at the end of 3rd grade, while by the end of 3rd grade Singapore Math, students are doing much harder problems. (Problems for which the one cited here is a mere foundation.)

Stay tuned for a later comparison showing how challenging the problems the end of 3rd grade Singapore Math are.

The point of these snapshots--and, of course, they are just snapshots--is to give a sense either of how similar categories of problems compare in their difficulty (e.g. the place value problems compared here), or how easy the different curricula are at different points (e.g. at the beginning or end of a given year).

jh said...

the problem with Everyday Math and its spiral curriculum is that it doesn't test for mastery along the way. so you don't know what the student knows by the end.

and the problems are so language intense that it's hard to figure out why the student got a problem wrong, so it's even difficult to determine mastery along the way

and by the way, Lori, I hope you continue to post because it's interesting hearing the other side of the reform math movement

Mrs. C said...

Lori, I found these broken calculator activities to be very difficult sometimes. I keep wondering why the calculator is broken and that literally gets in the way of my math. :p

Elf and Emperor are just beginning second unit Singapore Math 4 next month and this month we are wrapping up Everyday Math 4 units 5 and 6. EM teaches some concepts earlier and then doesn't expect mastery for a long time. So I use those "spiraling back" times to reinforce concepts.

Singapore teaches some concepts later, but mastery seems to be expected right then. What gets my children isn't so much the math that is introduced but the complexity of the word problems.

It's taking much longer to do one "calendar" school year of math this way, BUT if I have a well-rounded mathy bunch of children who are secure in their concepts, the extra time is worth it.

I don't think any one curriculum is an angel of light or the devil himself. I will say that some of the algorithms in EM are wack and we don't use 'em. And some of the "use a calculator" pages? No calculator in my class unless the numbers are truly staggering.

Even then kids will push a wrong button here and there and be just as wrong as they would on paper. :]

We also look at the teachers' manual as being our friend that we can talk to any time during the course of the lesson. What we're looking for by the end of the day is, can we do this problem on our own next time?

jh, we have an older version of EM and there are "Unit Assessments" as well as midyear and end-of-year tests. I shoot for 80 percent on these, otherwise we go BACK and do parts of the unit again!! :]

jh said...

unit assessments at 80% do NOT tell you if a student has mastered a particular subject

80% tells you that, given enough time, a student might be able to remember something later

if you want to learn about mastery, you need to find out # problems per unit time, and get that to a level that demonstrated fluency. this is the gold standard, not % correct

Mrs. C said...

*Fluency* I don't think is really tested anywhere in the curriculum that I've seen.

And BTW, I made up the 80% goal myself just because I need to figure out SOME way to tell if my children are progressing. Though, if you're bombing the same PART of the test over and over, you're not learning that concept...

I don't see *anywhere* in the EM teachers' manuals any sort of guideline as to when to hold a child back. Surely there must be one. Though as a homeschool family we just re-do parts of units and move slower or faster as the case may be. :]

jh said...

here's a terrific paper on fluency and its benefits

I know that programs don't use fluency . . . but they should!