New Math Or Just Common Sense

Success is more a function of consistent common sense than it is of genius. – An Wang

Tonight I went to watch a district presentation on the new math standards that we have been using since the beginning of this school year. While it is a different way of teaching, it isn’t “New Math”.

There is no such thing, just different methods of teaching the same thing. What these new standards and benchmarks teach are visual, reasoning and justifying your work. I believe it is a good way to teach because math teaches how to think things out, how to look at things step by step. Instead of being taught 5 + 5 = 10, do it 10 times, kids go through a visual progression of seeing 5 ducks plus 5 frogs equals 10 water animals. The steps go on and on, all of which are good sound common sense progressions.

This brings me to another point that learning the common sense and reasoning of math make for good decisions. This weekend my family went to the mall to shop for jeans for me and for some small things for the kids, including some sale sandals for our daughter. We got a pretty good deal on the sandals, but I knew we wouldn’t find jeans that were any kind of deal. We went to Sears, the lowest priced of the anchor stores in the mall and found jeans “On Sale” for $39.99 ($40 for those who get lost in the penny marketing). Of course I did not buy those “Sale” jeans, opting instead to drive around the corner to the nearby Target where I was able to find jeans that I liked for $19.99 ($20 to be consistent). I ended up with 2 pair for $40, which in any type of math, reasoning and common sense is 2 pair for the price of 1 of the more expensive jeans. If this was money savings in the bank, I would have just doubled my money.

New Math? No, it’s just common sense.