It turns out the Montgomery Public Schools isn’t the only institution going deeper with K12 math. So is the Smarter Balanced Consortium and its Common Core-aligned tests. Here are two sample items from a 6th grade number sense assessment (one from the beginning, one from the end):

**Stimulus:** The student is presented with a context involving a negative number or zero.

**Example Stem:** A Fahrenheit thermometer shows that the temperature is 15 degrees below zero.

Enter the integer that represents the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.

**Stimulus:** The student is presented with statements involving absolute value in a real-world context.

**Example Stem**: Sea level is defined as being at an elevation of 0 feet. Objects can be above or below sea level.

• Submarine J is 35.6 feet below sea level.

• Submarine Q is 21.5 feet below sea level.

• Submarine Z is 43.8 feet below sea level.

Determine whether each statement comparing the submarines is true.

Submarine J is deeper than Submarine Q
because
|–35.6| > |–21.5|.

Submarine Q is deeper than Submarine Z because
|–21.5| > |–43.8|.

Submarine J is deeper than Submarine Z
because
|–35.6| > |–43.8|.

**OILF's Extra Credit:**

Is it possible that what’s challenging about negative numbers and absolute value aren’t the “deep” concepts that underlie them, but, rather, the more complicated operations on them that emerge in a curriculum less focused on “number sense” and more on (shudder!) mathematical procedures?

## Friday, May 29, 2015

### Math problems of the week: 6th grade Smarter Balanced "number sense" problems

Labels:
Common Core,
conceptual understanding,
math,
tests

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