‘New math’ vs ‘old math’ under debate

Local News

The new math versus old math debate is something many students, and parents are struggling with at home.

Growing up, you probably remember memorizing your times tables, and doing timed math drills.

That no longer seems to be the case.
Teachers are asking students to use area models, and other visual elements.
They they say this will help students understand the problems with real-world scenarios.

“I think a lot of it is using manipulatives now. Using things in the classroom to help them visualize, where I think in the past, it was just you just wrote a number down and kind of tried to solve it,” said Jill Schwan, Grimsrud Elementary Teacher.

John Sayler, who is a parent to two students in the area, says, at times, it can be challenging, especially back when kids were learning from home.

“When our children come to us, as parents, they’re looking for our guidance and stuff.
And it’s tough, because we know the old way of doing math and the successful way of doing math.
Now there’s a new version of math, and most of us haven’t seen it or dealt with it.
So, sometimes you find yourself having to research their way of doing with it,” said Sayler.

Students of all grades are learning these new methods.

Jill Schwan, third grade teacher for Grimsrud Elementary says, parents and students need to work together.


“They were taught a lot different than the way we teach it, and I always like to tell students.
Hey, you need to try to be the teacher and explain to your parents how you’re learning this.
We always encourage showing your work, so then if they do the answer wrong, us as teachers can look back and find the mistake that they made.

Teachers have also been taking steps to stay up-to-date on common core math.


“Last December I went with a few of my collogues in the district to Colorado to learn a minds on math. It was a different strategy on how to teach students different ways of looking at math,” said Schwan.

While some parents argue that these new methods take longer and are more difficult, Slayer says we must adapt with the changing times.


“In today’s society, everything is about change.
You either adapt and overcome, or you fail to the old ways and stuff.
So, it is, it’s a lot of adapting and overcoming and just trying to learn the new way and accepting the change,” said Sayler.

Students of all ages and grades are learning these new methods, and the core curriculum will continuously be updated as the years go on.

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