# Common Core Math Problem Solving

Note, too, that the Singapore problems—typical of what I’ve seen in Singapore Math—are text-lite.

The emphasis is on numbers, manipulating numbers, and problem solving.

use a variety of models, including discrete objects and length-based models (e.g., cubes connected to form lengths), to model add-to, take-from, put-together, take-apart, and compare situations to develop meaning for the operations of addition and subtraction, and to develop strategies to solve arithmetic problems with these operations.

Add within 100, including adding a two-digit number and a one-digit number, and adding a two-digit number and a multiple of 10, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used.

Here’s another example drawn from Singapore Math, in which a drawing is used to help pupils make sense of an elementary subtraction problem: ?

– 7 = 5 In this problem, students are encouraged to draw the whole—which is unknown—and to show what they know. In this case, the drawing is used as a tool to better understand what the problem is asking.They aim to clarify and focus on answering the problem.In other words, the model is used in service of understanding and answering a clearly defined problem. If models confuse more than the math itself, they have lost their utility.Here’s a puzzler: Why are the Common Core math standards accused of fostering “fuzzy math” when their drafters and admirers insist that they emphasize basic math, reward precision, and demand fluency?Why are CC-aligned curricula causing confusion and frustration among parents, teachers, and students?It would be easy for a student to lose his or her way and get frustrated amidst that information even if s/he gets the math.Worse, in this example, the model or drawing has become the “goal.” In the Singapore examples, the drawings and models are means to clear-cut ends.While a student should ultimately be able to answer problems of this sort without visual aids, this kind of “modeling” can help lay the foundation that students need to solve increasingly complicated problems through the grades.Such “models” can be even more useful for students when it comes to making sense of fractions and answering fraction problems. gave several examples of blunders when he complained to his 3 million followers that the Common Core curriculum at his daughter’s school—with its bewildering math problems and related tests—was making her cry.Write one letter A, B, or C in each box to represent the story each kid read. Yet the confusion doesn’t arise from the math; it’s the fault of the English.The problem includes students (who have no names), book titles, letter labels for the books that are different from the titles, all buried in a problem that is meant to be about comparing fractions with unlike denominators.

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