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Thread: This Common Core Math Problem Is So Absurdly Difficult It Stumps College Students

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    Senior Member schusker's Avatar
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    Default This Common Core Math Problem Is So Absurdly Difficult It Stumps College Students

    http://www.ijreview.com/2014/05/1379...fuse-congrats/



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    Lets face it most Americans and their offspring suck @ science/technology/math. As a Sputnik baby I HAD to take geometry/2 Algebras, trigonometry , calculus , physics, biology, chemistry in high school. A BS degree required higher levels of science subjects. I know some of you posters are science graduates - what has been your experience w/Americans and their STEM preparation? The tragedy is we can not get enough Americans proficient in STEM and according to our Tech leaders we have to hire H-IB foreigners.

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    College students at George Mason University were recently shown the Common Core method — being taught to many of America’s elementary school students — for solving this basic math problem: 32 – 12 = ?
    If you can follow the “logical” sequence for arriving at the answer, congratulations. The rest of us are stumped.
    I'm not sure this equates to "the country being destroyed from within". The question remains, "can the kids today solve 32 - 12?". I'll bet they can and maybe ... just maybe ... have a better understanding of the logic than we do.

    I'm with those folks who were being interviewed; I learned the old way and that's what makes more sense to me. BUT, when I need help with my new phone, who do I go to??? It's a different world now. Calculators changed things 30/40 years ago. New tools change the importance of some skills.

    How many of you use your Latin skills???

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    JS - I do ..in fact my favorite one I told to a pair of amateur Wisconsin judges in 1992 (Fred Cundari -RIP) as I climbed to the top of a mound to run a triple - Nos marituri te salautamus! I know I am showing off here but I did this long before Russell Crowe/Gladiator. Fred understood from Italian !

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    Quote Originally Posted by swliszka View Post
    Lets face it most Americans and their offspring suck @ science/technology/math. As a Sputnik baby I HAD to take geometry/2 Algebras, trigonometry , calculus , physics, biology, chemistry in high school. A BS degree required higher levels of science subjects. I know some of you posters are science graduates - what has been your experience w/Americans and their STEM preparation? The tragedy is we can not get enough Americans proficient in STEM and according to our Tech leaders we have to hire H-IB foreigners.

    I guess I'll bite on this one. We obviously didn't see anything that led up to this or how the question was stated. I'm guessing that they were just showing a concept, not suggesting that the kids perform subtraction that way. However, over the years I've developed lots of little tricks for adding and subtracting big numbers in my head. If I explained them, you'd think I'm nuts, but this little example has some similarities with what I do. My little tricks are easier for me than for example putting two numbers one over the other in my head and subtracting column by column. Same for multiplication and division. I can estimate most of them almost instantly with my little tricks. I get funny looks from people who pull out their calculators to figure something out and I give them the answer before they can key it in.

    Sure you can teach kids to mechanically work things out. From what I've seen of some common core math, what they are trying to do is in addition to teaching how to do it mechanically, they are attempting to give them a "feel" for math. My "feel" came from years of crunching numbers all day every day and noticing things about them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JS View Post
    I'm not sure this equates to "the country being destroyed from within". The question remains, "can the kids today solve 32 - 12?". I'll bet they can and maybe ... just maybe ... have a better understanding of the logic than we do.

    I'm with those folks who were being interviewed; I learned the old way and that's what makes more sense to me. BUT, when I need help with my new phone, who do I go to??? It's a different world now. Calculators changed things 30/40 years ago. New tools change the importance of some skills.

    How many of you use your Latin skills???

    JS
    as a adjunct professor at a 2 year college I had numerous statements such as "why do I need to learn how to do it that way, all I have to do is hit this key on my handheld and I get the answer. Calculators and computers have changed things, but I'm afraid our youth are losing the concepts, or the why's and just trying to get the "answer". I actually had this bonus question on a test, name the two surveyors in which the Mason-Dixon line is named after? Only one out of twenty got it right. They came into my class not knowing the simplest concepts of trig, or if they did, had no clue as how to apply it in the real world. But they sure were good on there iphones and ipads.

    What little "latin" I had in school still comes in handy when dealing in the law.
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    Common core is another over-reach by the federal government! It has a number of issues that parents and some States are standing up against. It has a strong element of 'indoctrination'. Additionally, parents are not allowed to see any of the tests! GW Bush and Jeb Bush support it, to their folly! Below is a few points from the RNC.....if you have kids or Grandkids who are being subjected to Common Core....do your research....!

    RESOLVED,
    the Republican National Committee recognizes the CCSS for what it is– an inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children so they will conform to a preconceived “normal,” and, be it further


    RESOLVED,That the Republican National Committee rejectsthe collection of personal student data for any non-educational purpose without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent and that it rejects the sharing of such personal data, without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent, with any person or entity other than schools or education agencies within the state....

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    Quote Originally Posted by schusker View Post
    as a adjunct professor at a 2 year college I had numerous statements such as "why do I need to learn how to do it that way, all I have to do is hit this key on my handheld and I get the answer. Calculators and computers have changed things, but I'm afraid our youth are losing the concepts, or the why's and just trying to get the "answer". I actually had this bonus question on a test, name the two surveyors in which the Mason-Dixon line is named after? Only one out of twenty got it right. They came into my class not knowing the simplest concepts of trig, or if they did, had no clue as how to apply it in the real world. But they sure were good on there iphones and ipads.

    What little "latin" I had in school still comes in handy when dealing in the law.

    If you were teaching at the 2 year college level, and based on this comment, I'm shocked that you were so critical of this example.

    That example was clearly an example of how you can do little mental tricks instead of using a calculator. I'm guessing that not one of the students asked by the interviewer were science, engineering, or math students. I laughed when the one kid asks, "were did you get these numbers from?" He is no genius, that's for sure.

    Will it help if I say"

    What is the difference between 32 and 12?

    Well, 12 + 8 = 20

    and, 20 +12 =32

    so, the difference is 8 + 12, or 20

    Mental gymnastic? I don't know. I'm weird, because that is how I subtract big numbers in my head. Obviously these are small numbers so they are easy to just to the old fashion mechanical way of putting one over the other and subtracting columns. But that doesn't work for me when figuring stuff out without paper of a calculator...
    Last edited by Buzz; 05-16-2014 at 11:40 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzz View Post
    I guess I'll bite on this one. We obviously didn't see anything that led up to this or how the question was stated. I'm guessing that they were just showing a concept, not suggesting that the kids perform subtraction that way. However, over the years I've developed lots of little tricks for adding and subtracting big numbers in my head. If I explained them, you'd think I'm nuts, but this little example has some similarities with what I do. My little tricks are easier for me than for example putting two numbers one over the other in my head and subtracting column by column. Same for multiplication and division. I can estimate most of them almost instantly with my little tricks. I get funny looks from people who pull out their calculators to figure something out and I give them the answer before they can key it in.

    Sure you can teach kids to mechanically work things out. From what I've seen of some common core math, what they are trying to do is in addition to teaching how to do it mechanically, they are attempting to give them a "feel" for math. My "feel" came from years of crunching numbers all day every day and noticing things about them.
    My feel came the exact same way. However, it came after a solid base was taught and repeated and repeated ad nausem (I didn't even have latin). Dealing with the tricks without the base is not good. I'm dealing with a second grader who I have to tell just set it up vertically. That he understands and is doing really well. I've already had discussions with the teacher. Luckily she sees the big picture.

    All that being said, in my opinion, I see common core as an overall good thing. WA just got rid of the "reform math". That was a bunch of BS. Teachers acting as guides not teaching just guiding discussions on groups figuring it out on their own. Common core has some faults like the 32-12 above but those are pretty easily ignored. The teaching and the standards are much more back to basics than what we had previously.

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    I am fairly sure my kids were taught "New Math" this way. When I tried once to help them with their Math Homework it looked like that.

    Once kids were allowed to take calculators to math exams technology trumped the human brain for speed of calculating.

    It is more important in todays world to be an expert at running computers and their programs. Pencils and math paper are a thing of the past. What and how we teach our kids should always include some common sense .. keep it simple stupid will never be a saying that will die away becauce of advances in technology.
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