Some middle school topics.
Recently, I was surfing the Internet and encountered an article written by professors of Mathematics that were sharing their experience with the middle school math curriculum. The article is called, “Why is it your job to teach your kid math?” The authors of the article were helping their children understand various alternative method offered by school teachers such as using grids, blocks, counters, or strips of paper to perform operations on fractions. The professors realized that children can not untangle themselves from the confusion created by these variety of methods without their parents and ended up organizing a Math club at home to help their neighbors’ and friends’ children to understand Math topics better. If you are interested in reading this article here is the link: “Why is it your job to teach your kid math?”
I understand that the developers of the school curriculum wanted to appeal to all psychological types of learners by creating all these alternative methods. But, I do not understand why children are tested on understanding and using these methods. For any math student it is important to be able to perform arithmetical operations quickly, correctly and with ease. Which method a student is using is supposed to be a matter of his or her choice, - whatever makes more sense for him or her. My tutoring experience proved that classical, “old fashioned” methods are more easily understood by children.
One of the topics, offered in Grs. 7 & 8, that expects children to use different methods of performing calculations, is “operations on integers”. I find that children better understand how to add and subtract integers simply by using a number line -the way I was taught. I summarize this method in a short article. If you, like authors of the above article, want to help your children to learn how to add and subtract integers without mistakes you can download it here for use. It is very important to understand how to add and subtract integers well without a calculator before going into high school. It is one of the most important topics that is going to be used through high school math.INTEGERS.pdf