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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Reform Math

From: Spunky Homeschool
Reform math is a complete departure from traditional math.

Reform math also emphasizes estimating and being able to analyze whether the answer derived is correct and reasonable. Students are urged to use calculators from an early age, "because as adults, that's how we do it -- we either do mental math or use a calculator," said Ruth Balf, who teaches fourth and fifth grade at Olympic View Elementary.

Which is fine – it’s valuable to know how to estimate an answer to verify that you’re on the right track and when you aren’t able to do a complete complex calculation. And I’m not against using calculators – provided that the students are still taught how to do the math on their own. However,

Or at least makes a good guess. Here's an example,

How do you convert a fraction to a decimal? Divide the numerator by the denominator? Not in CMP [Reformed] math. That might call for long division. Too difficult! CMP students use "models." They have 9 "fraction strips," with a separate fraction strip for the denominators 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, and 12. Students also have a "hundreds strip." To convert 7/8 to a decimal, the student compares the eighths strip to the hundreds strip, looking to see where 7/8 "hits" the hundreds strip. Answers can be expected to range from .86 to .89. The "right answer" is .87 or .88

Which is a complete load of bulls**t and certainly no easier than long division! And what about when you need to convert 9/16? Or 127/398? The point of math is once you learn the basic principals you can apply it to any number!


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