Thursday, February 3, 2011

Math problems of the week: 5th grade Everyday Math vs. Singapore Math

 ESTIMATION PROBLEMSI. From the 5th grade Everyday Math Student Math Journal Volume 2, p. 290: [click on picture to enlarge]

 II. From the 5th grade Singapore Math Primary Mathematics Workbook 5A (volume 1), p. 17:[click on picture to enlarge]

 III. Extra Credit
Estimate the percentage of 5th social studies class time that is devoted to topics in 5th grade math.

FedUpMom said...

Ugh. Constructivist math curricula have way too much of this "explain your strategy", "how did you decide?" kind of work. The result is kids who hate writing AND math.

IMHO, "how did you decide?" is OK for a class discussion, but as written homework, it's just obnoxious.

Barry Garelick said...

The problem of trying to get rid of bad math programs is made so much harder because people swallow the snake oil the marketers of this crap have peddled. Here are some pro-EM comments on an internet forum I saw, in an area where EM is used:

"Paper and pencil algorithms for every little arithmetic problem are unnecessary to understand the big ideas that lead to algebra. ...btw they still teach long division in EM they just don't beat it to death... students don't need to practice using the distributive property in long division to see how it applies to algebra. Most kids don't really get what they're doing when performing long division other than writing out this simple little algorithm yields the answer. Making them do lots of problems to repeat the algorithm doesn't improve their understanding, it just makes them faster with an obsolete tool.
Your point about long division showing repeating decimals from fractions is valid. That's a good way to demonstrate it. Now, how do you demonstrate irrational numbers with the obsolete pencil algorithms? Proofs are overrated as a way to teach logical reasoning."

"EM's a pretty good curriculum if you want to teach kids how to think using math. However it drops a bunch of the traditional, rote arithmetic that many parents think math is all about. Ask a math prof how much arithmetic they use...Ask an engineer how much arithmetic they use...Ask a cashier how much arithmetic they use... it's all automated in this IT-centric world. I'd want my kids to understand the math as a language and how to solve problems using tools they master...like a calculator or a slide rule or whatever. Okay, I'll admit that EM is harder to teach than traditional rote math, but shouldn't FCPS have the best math teachers for the premium they're paid?"