" In this changing world, those who understand and can do mathematics will have significantly enhanced opportunities and options for shaping their futures. Mathematical competence opens doors to productive futures, A lack of mathematical competence keeps those doors closed....All students should have the opportunity to learn significant mathematics with depth and understanding."
Math looks different these days.
Math is about DOING. Doing mathematics means generating strategies for solving problems, applying those approaches, seeing if they lead to solutions, and checking to see whether your answer makes sense. Doing mathematics in the classroom should model the act of doing mathematics in the real world.
If you visited your child’s math class, it may look different from what you remember. For example, 2 apples + 2 apples still equals 4 apples, and learning your multiplication tables is still important. But, now you are likely to see your child solving real problems. Second graders might:
- Figure out how many apples they need for a classroom party.
- Determine the cost to buy those apples.
- Compare how much money they need to have in the class kitty.
Fourth-graders are learning not only that 7 x 8 = 56, but, are deciding when they should use multiplication to solve a problem. Educators want children to under- stand that math is not only useful out of the classroom, but in their daily lives too. We know that every child is capable of achieving in math topics such as geometry, data and statistics, and algebra—topics we’ve traditionally thought of as only accessible to some.
Math Classroom environments should look like:
- Persistence, effort and concentration
- Students share ideas
- Students listen to each other
- Errors or strategies that did not work are opportunities for LEARNING!
- small groups stations-strategy based
- Productive struggle
- students applying prior knowledge, testing ideas, making connections and comparisons and discussing them.
MY CHILD’S TEACHER SAYS THAT THE MATHEMATICS IS PROBLEM-BASED. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Teachers are now using activities that are connected to students’ real lives. Like mathematicians, students are now solving problems that may take them an hour, or perhaps, several hours to solve. There may be many ways to solve the problem.
Children think about mathematics in different ways depending on their prior experiences at home and school. Teachers want your children to understand how important math is and how it helps them solve every-day problems. By allowing students to think flexibly about numbers teachers encourage them to “own” the mathematics forever, instead of “borrowing” until class is over.
Parents can help out by showing their children when they use math. That may be as simple as:
- Helping your child estimate in the grocery store;
- Deciding together how many plants can fit into a garden and drawing a scale plan of your garden; or
- Discussing how the interest works on the mortgage.
MY CHILD TALKS ABOUT WORKING IN PAIRS AND GROUPS. IS THIS HELPFUL?
Research shows that students’ working together helps with understanding. It allows more time for all young people to talk about what they know and don’t know. During group problem-solving, teachers are actively listening to the students’ reasoning which, in turn, helps them better understand the students’ thinking. There is still time in the classroom for students to work independently, and teachers know how important that is. Business and industry leaders say that the three “R’s” are still important but that new employees also need good communication skills and the ability to work in a team.
MATH IS EVERYWHERE! LOOK FOR IT WITH YOUR KIDS.
Football—is it possible for a team to score 22 points? How many ways can they do it?
Is there an impossible score?
Driving to School—what does “miles per hour” mean? How does it help us know how long it will take us to get to school? What else may influence how long it takes us to get somewhere in the car?
Consumers—is it more cost effective to lease or buy a car?
How much paint do I need to buy to paint the front hall? Can you guess the amount needed or do you need measurements to figure out how much paint to buy?
In the cafeteria of your school? How much change will I get back?
At the grocery store- have students predict the cost of the items. Then have them predict the change you will get back? Is it better to buy a normal size item or the family size?
- Dream Box - Information, resources, and engaging math activities for parents to support math learning at home
- Khan Academy- videos of different math skills
- Youcube - articles to help parents support their children in math
- PBS Parents- articles, online games, and math activities
- Discovery Education- STEM activities
- Math-U-See- make math worksheet at home
- Math.Com- shows you step by step how to learn a math skill.
- Greatminds- videos, activities, and articles
- EngageNY- New York state site for parent resources in math
- Mash Up Math- great videos and activities for parents and students at home.