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“Helping Your Child Learn”

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Parent tips from the Utah Education Association

Math & Science – A Different Kind Of Math

Have you noticed? Math looks different these days.

When you visit your child's mathematics classroom, it may look different from what you remember. 2 apples + 2 apples still equals 4 apples, and 7 x 8 is still 56, but now you're likely to see students counting real apples instead of just seeing them in a book. The math hasn't changed, but how we look at it has.

We want ALL students to realize that math is more than adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. We want children to be able to connect math to their everyday lives. We know that every child is capable of achieving in math topics such as geometry, data and statistics, algebra, and measurement — topics we've traditionally thought of as only accessible to some.

Teachers are now designing mathematical tasks that ask students to think deeply about math and how that math is part of their real lives. The problems students encounter won't be the two problems at the end of the lesson page that we all remember, but they'll be "real" problems that use math in a "real" way. It may be a problem that takes the child an hour, or perhaps several, to solve. There may be multiple ways to solve the problem.