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   Helping Your Child Learn Math - June 1999

How Will Math Look in Your Child's Classroom?

As a result of the recent effort in mathematics teaching to include understanding in the teaching of math, from basic through advanced levels, the picture of your child's math class may, indeed, look different from what you remember when you were in school. For instance:

    Children will be expected to know their math facts: Children will be learning their math facts with an understanding of how facts relate to each other.

    Children will be doing more than arithmetic: Children will be seeing that math is much more than arithmetic (knowing the facts and number operations); it involves estimation, geometry, probability, statistics, and more.

    Children will be striving to achieve high goals: Children will be achieving high standards of understanding, complexity, and accuracy set for them by their parents, teachers, schools, and states.

    Children will be actively involved in the study of mathematics: Children will be doing tasks that involve investigations. They will be talking and writing explanations for their thinking.

    Children will be working with one another: Children will be collaborating to make discoveries, draw conclusions, and discuss math.

    Children will be evaluated in a variety of ways: Teachers will use many different ways to determine if children know and understand math concepts. Some of these will include writing samples, projects, or written tests. Not all evaluation will be the same for every classroom or every child.

    Children will be using calculators to solve problems: They will be using calculators not as crutches but as tools to solve more complex problems with bigger numbers than they could do otherwise. Children with good knowledge of math facts, number sense, and reasoning about math will be able to use the calculator most effectively.

    Children will be using computers: They will be developing databases, spreadsheets and computer graphics, while solving problems.

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