The middle school my daughters attend started a new math program based on their poor performance for the third year on the standardized testing required by NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND, which should really be called EVERY CHILD LOSES BRAIN CELLS and PARENTS DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY THEY LEARNED THE OLD FASHIONED WAY AND CAME OUT FINE.
One of my daughters asked for help on her homework and I soon found out it wasn’t because it was difficult.
There were five problems similar to this one:
1. Chayton buys Northern Spy apples for his mother’s pie. He buys 3.2 pounds at $1.10 a pound. What is his bill?
Okay, 6th grade. I get this. But then:
6. Why does it make sense to use multiplication to solve these problems?
We debated this for a while. Because that’s how you get the answer? Because it works? What deep meaningful answer are they looking for?
I thought that question was hard until I read the next one:
7. When one factor in a multiplication problem is greater then 1, is the product greater or less than the other factor? Explain.
I don’t even know how to answer the question without using the beginning to answer the end. The product is greater than the other factor because it’s multiplied by a factor greater than one? I tried to get her to use one of my other answers:
- Emily’s Butt
- Because this math is making me stupider
- Because my mother says so
And the final straw came with the last question on the page:
8. When one factor is less than 1, is the product greater or less than the other factor? Why?
At this point she accidentally attached her bracelet to her three-hole binder while closing it, told me “lesser than” was not correct English, erased and fixed her numbering errors because she apparently can’t count to 2, and we both felt much stupider for even attempting to do 6th grade math.