New Math

Parents and teachers! I have a question. Please feel free to PM.

Is this the same as the “new math” taught in Canada now? (The website seems to be from Ohio)

The reason I ask – because I have an opinion (well, what else is new) and I’d like to talk about it if this is the case:

This is how I was taught all through school in Japan. I’m a bit shocked to learn the traditional ways the math was taught (as described in video).

It might sound unbelievable, but when we got to algebra, and then later calculus, some of us only needed to be taught the concept and calculation once to understand, solve, and apply. Literally, like 10 minutes.

Let me explain how.

We were always taught, from age 5, that math and number are tangible. Not just “hey, she has three apples, and you have 2.” It’s 2 m^2 of paper and 3/4th m^2 of paper taped together. It’s the volume or surface area of a 5 m^3 cube sliced perfectly diagonally. It’s about a tiny dot on a curve having it’s own slope.

We were raised to think that a number is not like a solid crystal. It’s more like a molecule or a dinner plate. It’s presented as one, but it’s made up of all sorts of parts. 24 is always 20 and 4, 19 and 5, 12×2, 72/3, or sqrt(576).

I can see the “new math” is really foreign and useless for people who grew up in the paradigm of “math is a tool / procedure.”

I would like to say for the record that the math I grew up in is as tangible as dissecting a frog. It’s as fun as lego. It’s easier to understand than trying to break that pesky C=C double bond.

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