Common Core Math Problem Solving

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Many of the “fuzzy math” complaints seem to focus on materials that ask students to engage in multiple approaches when tackling arithmetic problems.

Take, for example, this middle school problem, also drawn from Singapore Math: Unfortunately—but perhaps predictably—as more publishers work to align their math programs to the CCSS, there is ample room for screw-ups. He also tweeted a few examples, including this one: 6 students are reading books for book clubs. In the model below, each box represents one student in the group.

They are reading one of the following stories: Story A: Matilda Story B: Magic Tree House Lions at Lunchtime Story C: Superfudge 1/2 of the students are reading Story A. Complete the model based upon the information above.

Here’s another example drawn from Singapore Math, in which a drawing is used to help pupils make sense of an elementary subtraction problem: ?

– 7 = 5 In this problem, students are encouraged to draw the whole—which is unknown—and to show what they know. In this case, the drawing is used as a tool to better understand what the problem is asking.


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