July 17, 2016
The Math Problem
Many have noticed a shift in the math system. There seem to be a difference with math compared to ten years ago. There is more of an emphasis on problem-solving through a collaborative method, group work and inquiry based which means that students are allowed to ask questions and the opportunities to discover solutions instead of the formulas only.
The learning goal from the curriculum allows variations of how the individual or group could be successful at solving the problem. This method is referred to as the success criteria. Within this open-ended task the group brings their collective understanding of the question and communicates, in some cases their individual solution, while in others, they present a variety of solutions and methods as numbers, pictures, words, manipulatives to name a few. This method allows for students to value, learn, and contribute their ways of learning with a shared purpose. It honours that students come from a variety of learning styles and ways of knowing. Some people may argue that this is no different. However, it may differ in that students are required to be more analytical in their thinking and communicating. Add also to the mix, the ability to apply this knowledge of analyzing in real world situations and then it becomes evident that math does have both similarities and differences from not so long ago.
WHY THE CHANGE
I believe that one idea that always remains constant in education is that we are life-long learners and as such, change for the purpose of improvement is always going to be the inevitable. Having said that, we can also appreciate that change is never easy but how we accept that change has to alter.
By preparing students to adapt to change and to be agents of change, we are teaching them ways of how to think, rather than what to think, especially in problem solving situations. There are certain fundamentals that students need to know regarding math and regarding problem solving, especially with efficient computation and understanding numbers. It’s important to teach your child multiplication facts. Play board games with your child/ren and share your math stories with them. Discuss the importance of financial literacy, the culture of price matching, and shopping. Whenever you are valuing math for your children you are giving them opportunities to activate, apply, build confidence, and share their knowledge.