What Math Did You Learn?

Discussion in 'Education' started by liberalogic, Jun 20, 2007.

  1. liberalogic
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    liberalogic Member

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    Just out of curiosity, how were taught math from elementary through high school? I was a part of the "new wave" of math techniques. I did Chicago Math throughout all of elementary and HS. The method deemphasized the basics and emphasized "everyday" application of mathematical concepts. I never really learned my multiplication tables, I never learned to do long division, I was taught to do multiple-digit multiplication through a method called Lattice (which required drawing a box to solve the problem) and I was given a calculator from fourth grade on. The curriculum was unstructured and jumped from topic to topic indiscriminately without providing any sort of foundation.

    I began to work at a learning center a few years ago (no calculators allowed) and I was unable to help kids with long division because I had never done it. Since the kids at the learning center can't use calculators, they are more familiar with the ways numbers work (reducing fractions, finding shortcuts, etc.) than I am.

    If anyone cares to share their math experience, I'm eager to hear. Also, the biggest question that I have is-- When did education shift from the basics and why did this happen? Who is behind the garbage that we are calling math?
     
  2. Kagom
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    Kagom Senior Member

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    Don't know if it has a name, but for the first 7 years of my school years, I was NOT allowed to use a calculator. Then around High School and after I was encouraged to, but I didn't need to most of the time. I could do it in my head and a lot of people I was in class with couldn't. My boyfriend also can't do math to save his life because he has to have a calculator AND doesn't know his multiplication tables. :/
     
  3. Care4all
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    Care4all Warrior Princess Supporting Member

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    Of course I am much older than you, but when I went to school we were not allowed to use a calculator grades 1-12. No Calculators allowed! (texas instrument was the only one that made calculators back then, if my memory serves me)

    As far as a name given to how they taught math, none existed back then, but let's just say, everything was covered, done long form...division, multiplication etc.

    in high school I took Algebra 1, algebra 2, Geometry and Calculous senior year.
     
  4. Truthmatters
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    Truthmatters BANNED

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    I was moved every year of my life during school very often in mid year.

    I could not tell you what the hell methods were used.

    I was all over southern California and cant even remember all the citys and counties.

    I did pretty well at math and was put into algebra in my first year of High school, I was in full on rebelion mode and never opened the book.

    I never took another math class until college.

    I did fine in algebra 1 and 2 but never took anything higher.
     
  5. Bern80
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    Bern80 Gold Member

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    my earliest math memories are from 5th grade. We had a math masters program of independent study. Basically you progressed throught he basics and kept getting thrown harder and harder stuff. In 5th grade it topped out at long division with remainders instead of decimal places.

    I know it's wrong to bring this up, but I think it's highly amusing this question was asked by someone named liberalogic.

    I looked into it a little bit and found a link that may be of interest.

    http://www.eklhad.net/chimath.html

    also click the link on the that says something like peer reviews of chicago math.

    out of curiosity what years are we talking for you in school when you learned this method?
     
  6. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Funny you brought up the University of Chicago math program. When my now 20 year olds were in grammar school, our district bought into the program-for one year, it became obvious that the average students were not getting the 'processes'. It was a very expensive mistake for the district, but to their credit, they did chuck it quickly. Now the youngest was in it throughout, but that was in the 'gifted' math program, he's still excellent at math.
     
  7. liberalogic
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    liberalogic Member

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    I did Chicago Math in Elementary School from 1993 (first grade) to 2005 (my senior year in HS). The elementary program is called "Everyday Math" and is exactly as the lady from your link describes. The Junior HS/HS program begins with something called transition Math (7th grade), then Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, FST (Functions, Statistics, and Trig), and PDM (Precalc and Discrete Math). The JR HS and HS books focus on the reading of each section-- they give a few mathematical examples (which are the most important parts of the section), but these examples are surrounded by math history, complicated proofs (which we are not expected to know and are way above anything we can understand), and other unnecessary things. The problems at the end of each lesson focus on both the examples they show in the lesson and the reading (history, etc.). The questions should be focusing almost solely on those examples, but they don't. Instead, we have to waste time talking about Euler when we can't even figure out what the hell he did. Plus, calculators were permitted throughout all of JR and SR High School (in fact, most of the problems could not be solved without them).
     
  8. liberalogic
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    liberalogic Member

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    Do you have any idea as to what spurred this reexamination of how we learn math?
     
  9. onedomino
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    onedomino SCE to AUX

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    Very poor performance in standardized tests; especially tests designed to compare the results of math education by country. Such tests show that while US math test scores relative to other developed countries (usually about 30 countries are compared) are not too bad at the 4th grade level, by the time 12th graders are compared, the US is at or near the bottom of the heap. Math and science education in the US for the first 12 grades is weak compared to other countries. Tests have shown that in order to scrore moderately well in the tests that compare education results by country, US 12th graders need to be in advanced special calculus and physics classes. The typical math and science classes offered in US high schools are not competitive with what is offered in other developed countries.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/1207/p01s04-ussc.html
    http://4brevard.com/choice/international-test-scores.htm
    http://mwhodges.home.att.net/new_96_report.htm
     
  10. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I agree the standardized tests scores would be the impetus, but the 'solution' is not the U of C program from what I understand. As I said, it's great for gifted kids or perhaps teachers that can 'leave the text', which is not most math teachers, at least until secondary school.

    When looking at education results, i.e.; the US aggregate scores v. European or European modeled systems, which is most the world; one must keep in mind the basic differences in philosophy and objectives. In general the US public system believes every child should receive and education through the 12th grade, shoot for quite awhile, the US was saying that even those that are officially retarded should be able to meet the standards set by NCLB. They have I believe, added some exceptions, though few. Then there is the problem of ESL, again while the 'differences' are to be taken into account regarding teaching, NOT the outcome in test scores.

    The European system rigidly sets markers, I believe in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grades, after each of which the students are streamed into ability groupings. THAT is not happening in the US, at least with the very small exception where available of good gifted programs and/or AP/Honors in secondary.

    Arguments can be made for both approaches, my personal philosophy is much more 'American' than 'European', though when it comes to preparing for standardized tests, the European model will always win. Why? Because even if my 'class' was academically less gifted-I could emphasize basics, provide memorization of 'facts' for instance, something not usually necessary for more 'cognitively gifted' students, who need very little help in mapping out a complex structure using inferences and their abilities to evaluate and incorporate new information from that they already know.

    When addressing a class of 18-30 students, where the abilities are perhaps skewed to one end, but with many falling or rising towards the other end, the teacher has to make some decisions of how long to remain in any one section. Some students may become totally bored, while others never catch up. Actually because of what I teach, social studies, it's pretty easy for me to provide assignments of varying complexity and emphasis on what my students need. I can have my higher ability kids working on more complex papers or readings, while my lower students are working on maps or helping design some sort of study guide or mini lesson for a lower grade class.

    Keep in mind that I'm a secondary teacher of my subject, with multiple degrees in subject areas. A third or fourth grade teacher with an 'education degree' may not feel comfortable leaving the text so frequently or for extended periods of time. This I believe is multiplied in math, no pun intended. ;)

    Unfortunately most other textbook companies have basically followed the U of C program, due to their success in selling to districts, causing problems in math. For those to whom math is not 'logical' or easy, they need several examples and lots of practice, then perhaps more text on 'how the process works.' As liberalogic stated, these books give text, an example or two, 'practice' of a few, though confusingly often not the same as the examples. Then they through in some word problems, then onto the next 'process.'
     
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