New math is not very new. It was developed in the early 1960s by French and German mathematicians. But the name didn’t catch on until recently when educators started using it to help kids learn math faster.
What is New Math and How Does it Help Kids?
New math uses a more visual and concrete approach than the traditional way of teaching math. For example, using the 10-frame method to learn addition and subtraction.
A 10-frame is a set of 10 blocks with dots in all of them. If you have to subtract five, you erase the dots in five boxes, count how many dots are still left, and write the answer.
If you are learning addition, and you have to add 2+5, you will put 2 dots in 2 boxes, and then put 5 dots in 5 boxes. You then count the dots and write the answer.
Here’s an example:
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Math curriculum has also been developed with new math in mind. The goal is to get kids to understand the concepts behind the math, not just memorize the steps.
Benefits of New Math
- Teaches problem-solving skills and critical thinking.
Trying to solve a problem the traditional way can be frustrating for kids. With new math, they are encouraged to think about different ways to solve a problem. This helps them develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that they can use in other areas of their life.
- It is a more visual and hands-on approach which makes it easier for kids to understand the concepts.
As kids use a lot of concrete materials such as blocks, Cuisenaire rods, and manipulatives, it becomes easier for them to visualize the concepts and understand what they are doing.
- Based on the latest research on how kids learn best.
As new research comes out, new methods and materials are developed to help kids learn better. It is constantly evolving to make sure that kids are getting the best education possible.
- Aligned with the Common Core State Standards, so kids will be learning what they need to know for standardized tests.
The new Common Core math standards were created to make sure that all kids are learning the same things. By teaching new math, kids will be prepared for the tests they will take in school, and won’t face much disparity in learning if they have to move to another school district.
- Flexible and adaptable to different learning styles.
Different kids learn in different ways. Some are visual learners, while others learn best by doing. With new math, there is more flexibility in the way that concepts are taught, so that all kids can learn effectively.
- It helps students understand complex concepts.
The traditional way of teaching math often requires students to memorize a lot of steps and formulas. With new math, students are encouraged to think about the concepts behind the math, so that they can understand it better. What seems like little steps, in the beginning, add up to a big understanding by the end.
- It prepares students for higher-level math courses.
Since the focus is on understanding and not rote learning, students will be better prepared for higher-level math courses, where they will need to be able to apply what they know.
- It’s more engaging and fun than traditional math curriculums.
Let’s face it, math can be boring. But with new math, there are more hands-on activities and games that make learning math more fun.
Related Reading: Best Math Games for Kids That Are Fun to Play
How did New Common Core Math originate?
Sponsored by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the Common Core State Standards initiative was launched in 2009. It seeks to establish consistent and high-quality K–12 education standards in mathematics and English Language Arts or Literacy (ELA) across the United States based on international models.
The new common core math standards for Grades K-8 were released in 2010 and the high school standards in 2011.
The highlights of Common Core Standards for Mathematics for each grade level are:
- Kindergarten: At this level, students learn to count to 100 and represent numbers using objects or drawings. They also learn number names and the sequencing of the counting numbers.
- Grade 1: In first grade, students extend their understanding of addition and subtraction to solve problems with numbers up to 20. They also begin to understand and describe place value.
- Grade 2: Students in second grade extend their work with addition and subtraction to solve problems with numbers up to 100. They also begin to work with multiplication and division.
- Grade 3: Students in third grade continue to develop their understanding of multiplication and division and begin to work with fractions.
- Grade 4: In fourth grade, students continue to develop their understanding of multiplication and division and begin to work with fractions. They also extend their understanding of place value to numbers up to 1,000.
- Grade 5: In fifth grade, students extend their work with fractions to include decimals and percentages. They also begin to work with solving equations.
- Grade 6: Students in sixth grade extend their work with multiplication and division to include solving problems with larger numbers. They also begin to work with negative numbers.
- Grade 7: In seventh grade, students extend their work with fractions to include decimals and percentages. They also begin to work with solving equations.
- Grade 8: Students in eighth grade continue to develop their understanding of multiplication and division and begin to work with algebra.
Old Math Vs New Math Explained
There are two main ways that people approach math problems: the new way and the old way, i.e., new math vs old math. The old way is to try to do everything in your head, while the new way is to use different strategies to solve problems.
The old way of doing math is called algorithmic thinking, where you rely on memorizing a series of steps to solve problems. This can work for basic problems, but it can be very difficult to keep everything straight in your head when you’re dealing with more complicated math.
The new methods to help kids solve math problems faster by teaching them to think critically and approach them from different angles. It also helps them to understand concepts more deeply and to see relationships between ideas. Additionally, new math method often incorporates technology and uses visual aids, which can help kids grasp concepts more quickly.
Finally, practicing these strategies can help kids develop confidence in their math abilities, which can lead to better performance in school and on standardized tests.
How Can You Help Your Child With New Math As A Parent Or Guardian?
Do strange-looking math problems from your child’s math homework confuse you? If you’re like many parents, you may have trouble helping your child with their math homework because it looks so different from the math you learned in school.
Besides the 10-frame math problems mentioned above, here are some common types of math problems students learn from Grades 1-5:
Here’s an excellent video on how to do addition using number bonds:
You can solve word problems using an open number line. Here’s a video to show you how this can be done:
The following video teaches you how to add two-digit numbers by decomposing them.
Related Reading: Best Teaching Strategies
Teaching Math Skills To Elementary School Students in the Classroom
You can make new math fun for your students in a classroom setting by:
1. Using Real Objects:
Money, abacus, spheres, or prisms fascinate young kids. You may also use gummy bears, pencils, colors, or blocks to teach the concept of numbers, addition, and subtraction.
2. Measuring Objects:
Taking measurements of the objects in the classroom and comparing their sizes will help kids understand more about geometry and the concepts of area and volume.
Some popular measurement games you can play in class are:
- Great Measure Hunt: In this game, the teacher hides several objects around the classroom. Each object will have a different measurement (weight, length, height, etc.). The students have to find the objects and record their measurements in a data table.
- Who weighs more: In this game, the students are divided into groups of two. Each group is given a set of objects with different weights (such as books, rulers, etc.). The students have to predict which object in their group weighs more. They can then use a scale to measure the weights and see if their predictions were correct.
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar Measuring Game: The game starts with the teacher reading the story “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. After the story, the students are given caterpillars (made out of paper) and they have to measure the caterpillars using a ruler. They can also color their caterpillars according to their length.
- Making Graphs: You can use everyday objects to teach your students about graphing. For example, you can bring in a bunch of different fruits and have the students sort them by color. Then, they can create a graph to show the data.
A little creativity can add a lot of fun to your Math class. So put on your thinking cap and get started!
3. Making Connections:
Make learning math relatable to the students by incorporating it into their daily lives. For instance, you may ask them questions like “How much money do you need to buy an ice cream cone?” or “How long will it take you to walk to the park?”
You can also help them understand angles by asking them to stand in different positions and describe the angle their bodies make. For example, “Stand up straight. Now, lift your arm at shoulder level. You are now making a 90-degree angle.”
4. Practicing regularly:
You can help your students master math skills by incorporating them into daily classroom routines and activities. For example, you can start the day by asking your students to solve a problem on the board as they come into the classroom.
You can also create opportunities for them to practice new skills during free time or center time. And, don’t forget to give them plenty of praise when they succeed!
How Math-Friendly Language can Make Math Easier for Kids
Some of the languages of the world are designed to improve the math skills of those who use them regularly. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Turkish are some examples of languages that have a math-friendly design.
These languages make it easy to perform mathematical operations because they use simple and concise words for numbers, and the grammar is designed in a way that makes calculations easier.
For instance, in English, we have a separate word for the number ’11’. But in Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Turkish, the number ’11’ is just ’10 one’. So when you’re adding or subtracting numbers, you don’t have to worry about keeping track of a separate word for ‘eleven’.
This design feature of math-friendly languages can help kids learn math concepts more quickly and easily.
If you speak English, you can still use math-friendly language techniques when talking to your kids about math. Just make sure to keep your explanations short and to the point. For example, instead of saying “eleven minus six equals five”, you can just say “eleven, take away six is five”.
Here are some translations of standard Math sentences that make problems easier for students:
- Make sense of this problem and persevere in solving it – Try this problem as many times as you want to solve it.
- Use abstract and quantitative reasoning to solve this problem – Think about this problem without pen and paper first, and then solve it.
- Use viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others on this topic – Tell us a good plan to solve the problem, and discuss strategies suggested by other students.
- Use mathematical modeling to solve the problem. – Use math drawings or objects to understand and solve the problem.
Do you see how math-friendly language can make a difference? Try using some of these phrases the next time you’re helping your child with math homework.
Related Reading: How to Help Kids with Math: 6 Innovating Approaches
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does language play a role in new math?
Yes, language does play a role in new math. The words we use to describe mathematical concepts can affect how easily students grasp those concepts. For example, the phrase “eleven minus six equals five” is harder to understand than “eleven, take away six is five”. So, when possible, use math-friendly language when talking to your kids about math.
Weren’t times tables just fine? Why do we need to change them?
The old way of teaching multiplication (known as the times tables) is no longer considered the most effective way to teach this concept. New research has shown that a more conceptual understanding of multiplication is more beneficial in the long run.
With the old method, students simply memorized the times tables and were able to recite them without understanding what they were doing. With the new approach, students learn to visualize multiplication and understand the concepts behind it. This helps them to solve more complex problems and to apply their knowledge in a variety of situations.
What is the best way to encourage my child to learn math?
Kids learn better when they enjoy the subject. Let them play online math games of their choice, and help them find math activities that they enjoy. Encourage them to ask questions and to persevere when they face difficulties. Compete with them and let them win sometimes, so they feel motivated to keep improving. Finally, praise their effort and successes, no matter how small. Celebrate every step in the right direction!