The 6-year old had Fall Break last week, so no homework and no enVisionMATH-blogging for me. Tonight, however, she brought home a new worksheet for her weekly homework, and a couple of things caught my eye. I thought I’d throw those out there to you all, along with a question or two, as a two-part blog post.
For the first post, take a look at this (click to enlarge):
In your own words, preferably those that a smart 6-year old could understand, what is the basic principle that this page is trying to get across?
What technique does this worksheet want kids to use when doing the Algebra problems?
What’s your opinion about the principle/technique you think the worksheet is trying to communciate? Reasonable? Natural? Likely to be useful, or used frequently later on?
The last post about enVisionMATH and how I, as a math person and dad, go about trying to make sense of what my 6-year old brings home from first grade seems to have struck a chord among parents. The comments have been outstanding and there seems to be a real need for this kind of conversation. So I have a few more such posts coming up soon, starting with this one.
The 6-year old brought this home on Monday. Click to enlarge:
It’s about adding “near doubles”, like 3 + 4 or 2 + 3. In case you can’t read the top part or can’t enlarge the photo, here are the steps — yes, there are steps, and that’s kind of the point of this post — for adding near doubles:
“You can use a double to add a near double.” It gives: 4 + 5 and shows four blue balls and five green balls.
“First double the 4″. It shows 4 + 4 = 8, and the four blue balls, and four of the green balls with the extra green ball…
It’s been back-to-school time for everybody in our household (hence an excuse for the light posting). We started classes at the college today, and last week the 4.5-year old went back to preschool full-time and the 6.5-year old started first grade. (The 1.5-year old is rocking the local daycare.) One of the biggest changes for the kids is for our first-grader, Lucy, since she has real homework for the first time. It’s not much; the expectation is about 20 minutes a night, Monday through Thursday. Some of that homework is math, which I was very excited about — but then that excitement turned to alert caution when I learned my daughter’s class was using enVisionMATH.
Here’s a promotional video for a new math curriculum from Pearson called enVisionMATH. (It must be a sign of the times that grade school math curricula have promotional videos.) Watch carefully.
Four questions about this:
Should it be a requirement of parenthood that you must remember enough 5th grade math to teach it halfway decently to your kids?
Does the smartboard come included with the textbooks?
Did anybody else have the overwhelming urge to yell “Bingo!” after about 2 minutes in?
When will textbook companies stop drawing the conclusion that because kids today like to play video games, talk on cell phones, and listen to MP3 players, that they are therefore learning in a fundamentally different way than anybody else in history?
I am a mathematician and educator with interests in cryptology, computer science, and STEM education. I am affiliated with the Mathematics Department at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. The views here are my own and are not necessarily shared by GVSU.
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