I’m not a math teacher but as a science teacher, I have taught a lot of math. In addition I helped each of my three daughters with math as they were growing up. What I learned is that young children learn and understand when math is concrete. That is counting real objects and cutting objects into pieces (fractions). Two older math programs, Family Math and Math, their way, were wonderful at promoting understanding. However when kids get to elementary school it is time to work on number facts.

Should problems be drawn out so students can visualize? Of course. But this does not have to be done for every problem as it becomes tedious. Imagine having to go through the process outlined by Rani for 20 problems! Approaches to problems vary. I’ve learned that it is best to focus on one or two for students to learn well before incorporating more. When novice learners are faced with multiple approaches, it confuses and frustrates many of them.

Given what I am hearing about CCSS mathematics, I wonder if the unintended consequence will be more young people lacking confidence and skills in math. I say this because I have yet to find peer reviewed research showing the method described by Rani results in improved student achievement.

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