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Do we need to makeover the way we teach math?

Last Night I watched a 12 minute video on TED discussing the need to change the way math is taught in the USA. It was a very interesting video and got my mind thinking. Do we need to change the way math is taught? I understand where Mr. Meyer is coming from and eager to try some of his methods. What are your thoughts?


Asked by SAHMinIL2 at 11:22 AM on May. 20, 2010 in General Parenting

Level 23 (15,584 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (10)
  • I used to substitute teach for a 6th grade math teacher, and I'm not sure how the kids were learning to do long division and multiplication, but it was not working. I think the long division was called lattice, and they made some kind of grid for multiplication. It's just a trick. They called the way I do it "old lady style." The biggest problem was that I didn't understand how they did it, and it didn't show work, just some kind of number trick, so I couldn't explain to them why their answers were wrong. Throw a decimal in there and those kids were lost. They have no number sense anymore. They would have a problem like 26.75 x 9.36, or something, and were getting crazy answers, either in the thousands or teeny tiny decimals! They are being taught shortcuts and tricks that only work some of the time, instead of learning how numbers work.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:20 PM on May. 20, 2010

  • My main thought is that the way math is taught has been made over since I was a kid, and not in a good way. I think we should go back to basics. I also think a lot of kids aren't good at math because that's what is expected from their parents who are scared of math. I think it's sad when kids approach math expecting it to be hard because that's how their parents feel; they are being set up for failure.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:29 AM on May. 20, 2010

  • Thanks Anonymous for sharing your thoughts on the subject. I believe I understand what you mean by children emulated their parents fears when approaching certain topics, subjects, such as math.

    Answer by SAHMinIL2 at 11:32 AM on May. 20, 2010

  • I agree, less tricking and too the point.

    My kids get confused and I say ignore this and that and this is the question.

    I like the new system.

    Answer by KFree907 at 11:43 AM on May. 20, 2010

  • i think we need to look around the world and copy the methods that are already a success. i believe that too much money is spent re inventing the wheel when it comes to education in America. it is such a shame to fall short when it comes to math and science, because it closes so many doors to the future of our children. our neighborhood is full of contract employees from India, China, and Japan...all engineers.

    Answer by happy2bmom25 at 2:49 PM on May. 20, 2010

  • Happy2bmom25- I have a feeling that you are correct in so many ways. I've looked into older math books for my children. Older being early 1900's. After all it's Math and truly 2+5=7 today just like it did over 100 years ago. One thing I found interesting in the older text books is that it's primary word problems. You will not find problems like 2+5=? on the page. Instead you'll see word problems like Johny has 3 marbles and Sue has 2 marbles. How many marbles are there? We are talking about this is 1st and 2nd grade math books. Just pages and pages of word problems that I'm sure cause a person to THINK.

    Answer by SAHMinIL2 at 3:11 PM on May. 20, 2010

  • Here is an example of 1st-2nd grade math book from the late 1800 early 1900.


    Answer by SAHMinIL2 at 3:21 PM on May. 20, 2010

  • It's not just math that needs changing in the way it is taught, but all subjects. The United States is far behind other countries when it comes to subjects like math & science and the reason for it is because of the way we teach, or rather don't teach, these subjects. The way things are now, we teach to satisfy some arbitrary testing standards established by our government, rather than teaching for mastery of the material. As a result, students gets little bits of this & than, then move on to something else, only to have to be re-taught the bits & pieces again before they can build on the material. This method wastes half a school year every year and to what end? Our kids are not learning!

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:30 PM on May. 20, 2010

  • Anonymous :30 Thanks for your input. I agree with many of your points.

    Answer by SAHMinIL2 at 5:15 PM on May. 20, 2010

  • Anonymous :20-Thanks for sharing. Perhaps what you describe is in part what Mr. Meyer in his talked called the "2 and half men effect" on math. That basically it's just rubbish. (NO offense to anyone that actually watches the show). Actually he didn't really slam the show just used it as an example of what's wrong with the way Math is taught today.

    Answer by SAHMinIL2 at 9:46 PM on May. 20, 2010