Thursday, April 26, 2012

Math problems of the week: 3rd grade 1920s math vs. Trailblazers

I. The second to last page of the 3rd grade section of Hamilton's Essentials of Arithmetic, First Book, p. 123 (published in 1923) [click to enlarge]:


II. The second to last page of the 3rd grade Math Trailblazers Student Guide, p. 326 (published in 1997) [click to enlarge]:

III. Extra Credit:

In light of all the many claims made by educaction professors like Sherry Fraser (see Barry Garelick's first comment in my previous post), it's easy to forget that many children like sitting in rows facing the blackboard and doing drills. I see this regularly on Thursday afternoons, when I teach (as I will in a few hours) in an after school math remediation program at one of our underperforming local schools. Here a group of 7 to 10-year-old boys regularly opts to join me at the blackboard (organizing their chairs in a row) to do multiplication drills. To the extent that they are distracted and restless, it's not out of boredom, but mostly because they're arguing over who gets to solve the next problem and trying not to blurt out the answers when it's not their turn.

But just because children enjoy drills doesn't mean we should indulge them. Comment on the relative merits of the final problem sets in the 1920s vs. the Trailblazers 3rd grade curricula.

5 comments:

TerriW said...

It boggles my mind that a nation of people who embraced Sudoku thinks that people hate drills.

FedUpMom said...

Katharine, does your remediation program need more teachers? I'm looking for ways to get experience teaching math.

Katharine Beals said...

FedUpMom--yes we are! Can you email me at katharine dot beals at gmail dot com? Many thanks!

FedUpMom said...

Katharine -- I wrote to your gmail address. Did my efforts get caught in your spam filter?

Katharine Beals said...

FedupMom-Your efforts, I've just determined, were the victim of my chronic typos (thanks for putting these other ones out!). I forgot to include my middle initial in my gmail address:
katharine dot p dot beals at gmail dot com.
Sorry about that, and sorry you've been waiting to hear back from me! Can you resend your msg?