Now that school is in session and the Common Core State Standards are being implemented it’s time to share some of the worksheets/homework that our kiddos are doing. Here are a couple of items from a Facebook group called “Inappropriate Common Core Lessons.”

The first item is from a 4th grader in Califorinia. When the teacher was asked what the purpose of learning this method was he said “because it will be on the test.”

The second example I’m sharing because it just cracked me up. I can see my son writing this.

How did you find your answer? Using math of course!

If you have lessons, worksheets, and lessons that you would like to share please email them to me at info@truthinamericaneducation.com.

eastofeden says

Because adding in columns and carrying is more confusing? This is ridiculous.

Shane Vander Hart says

I don’t think deconstruction is difficult, but it is unnecessary.

TAF says

Actually, deconstructing and reconstructing numbers facilitates mental math. The point of the first example, is that adding the 30 and the 70 gives you a nice even hundred. I admit that the worksheet makes it a bit cumbersome, but some students need some scaffolding.

There have been some studies that have shown that students who are good at math use these deconstructing/re-constructing techniques. Often, lower achievement students do not, and end up trying to apply skills such as counting on (used for initial learning in addition) in more complex situations. The result is that they find they must work more slowly (to reduce errors) with larger numbers. The fact that the teacher did not understand the rational behind the strategy does not speak to the worth of Common Core. (Which is not to say I am a Common Core cheerleader.)

I do point out to my own students that when multiplying a number between 12 and 19 by a single digit, a strategy that will often allow them to compute it mentally is to take 10 times the single digit number and then add the product of the single digit number and the number in the ones digit.

You don’t think deconstruction is difficult because you likely picked it up on your own. Not all students do. And with the increase in calculator use in elementary schools, fewer students pick up these techniques. Unfortunately, there are lots of times when we don’t have calculators (or we don’t bother with the one available on our phones) and many in this situation have trouble with math that wouldn’t be difficult if we all had good estimating skills and some facility with deconstructing/re-constructing numbers.

Maxine Shaw says

I don’t see where “decomposing” 2+2 to 3+1 is doing anybody any good. And if working more slowly is the goal to accuracy, why are all tests timed? Not trying to argue with you; this is just baffling to me. In all that time they spent deconstructing those problems, they could’ve just solved them and about five more like them.

Tom Lawrence says

Your example, though, is not decomposing . . .

denise0513 says

So, has the government bought stock in paper? Seems to me this very long way of doing simple math is just a waste of paper!

K says

Heaven forbid we teach our children higher order thinking skills.

Shane Vander Hart says

That’s your idea of “higher order thinking skills?”

Kevin F. Casey says

You forget SOMEONE has to be the Slaves in the New Corporate states & it looks like those who Volunteer are Christian Conservatives. I vote EDUCATED Liberal Christians be the Slave owners.

cpederson says

While the math is insane, I am almost equally annoyed with the grammar used on the first worksheet…. ’em is not a word.

JC says

Eh, I see what they are attempting to do. I have done the same abstract-to-concrete manipulation of multi-digit numbers with my 2nd grader. It helps those who don’t easily grasp the abstract nature of math to “see” what’s really happening when someone starts writing down those numbers.

My concern with this exercise is two-fold. First, is this instruction in lieu of the old-fashioned way? If it is, the students are in real trouble. Second, is it presented to the students as a way to see the the abstract and make it concrete for them or do they (the students) just think this is another way to solve the problem? Is it the primary focus to learn to add this way, or is this supplemental to helping them understand the column addition?

The concept is sound and a great way to supplement for those having problems with the abstract. But the methodology could use some work. There is a simpler and less convoluted way to present it.

ienoino says

I abhor Common Core, but I don’t see a problem with the first worksheet, as long as it is an occasional exercise and not used in lieu of learning how to do traditional math. When I have to add large sums in my head, I often do the same type of deconstruction to keep from having to track the carrying of numbers in my head. If that is the purpose of the exercise, to show students how the numbers can be manipulated for easier processing, then it’s not a big deal.

Shane Vander Hart says

I can agree with that.

James Leah Lindsey says

I use the K-12 home school curriculum to home school my two boys in California because I cannot afford to be completely on my own (curriculum is outrageously expensive) and unfortunately last year in 3rd grade we had a hole unit comprised on doing addition and multiplication math this way. It was a complete waste of time, I mean come on a whole

anon says

I find it very interesting that the example the teacher gave did not even follow the instructions. It says “Use an = at the start of your new line”. The only = she has is in the last line when coming to the conclusion. According to the instructions it should be written as “=100+30+5+70+3”.

rainier4311 says

Stack it and work the problem. That is what I was taught when in grade school. And, there is no ballpark calculations. That is like telling a concrete contractor to build a parking lot to park trucks weighing 100k pounds and the first truck rolls in, the concrete breaks when a truck weighs 60k pounds. Go figure if it was a bridge.

hmschooling says

This manipulation is a very important skill to facilitate mental math and is a HUGE part of very successful asian math programs such as Singapore Math, which we’ve used as homeschoolers. It’s a very solid skill that will definitely build mental math skills. Completing the ten or completing the hundred, very helpful to understand numbers enough to break them down into parts to make mental math easy. I love this trick and teach it to my own kids. I do not support common core at all, and they should know the traditional way of doing math on paper but also know this as a trick to using their brains to calculate. It’s the most efficient way to do math mentally, just not efficient on paper. but they have to learn it somehow.

Tom Lawrence says

The first example is how to decompose a math sentence and recompose it (a useful pre-algebra exercise) and the second example is an attempt to get an answer to a question. Wouldn’t the more appropriate answer be “I subtracted xxx from xxx.” “Math” isn’t even a complete sentence. It would, however, be a quick texting answer . . .