02 May 2008

Mathiness

Washington has (finally) finished its math standards revision---at least for k-8. This is the segment I'm most interested in, and I have to say that I like what I see. (You can learn more here about about the new standards, if you like.) The language has been cleaned up. It is very clear what a child should know and be able to do in terms of meeting the standards. Teachers no longer have to guess whether or not kids "understand" certain things. As an instructional coach working with elementary teachers in the realm of math, I feel much relieved about the new standards. (We'll see where the new curriculum choices lead us.)

In terms of math instruction, the New York Times recently reported a study suggesting that the fewer real-world examples of math used, the better. This might seem counter-intuitive to what we usually think about the relevance of learning, but it may be that students get caught up in remembering the "two trains leaving A and B..." parts and not so much in how speed and direction are important. A severe limitation of this study was that it was conducted with college age students. The authors want to generalize to younger students, but I'm not sure that this would bear out. It would be interesting to see, however, so I hope that more research is done.

1 comment:

Jason Lindsey said...

Hello! This is outreach science Educator Jason Lindsey. I'm doing a story for my website, www.hookedonscience.org about how many science teachers are now spending more time blogging. Could you send me an e-mail at jlindsey@hookedonscience.org and let me know if you can do an interview. You can find out more about me by going to www.hookedonscience.org.

Jason