How do we know if our students are mastering essential mathematical concepts? Common Core seeks to streamline teaching. This lesson will explore the eight standards of mathematical practice set forth by Common Core.
What Is Common Core?
Have you ever run into someone who solves math problems in a way that is different from how you solve them? Or maybe you have felt that you were never taught how to solve a certain type of problem. Why is education so different depending on which school you attend or the teacher you have?
Common Core seeks to eliminate these differences by creating a set of educational standards for the instruction of students from kindergarten through 12th grade. It's an optional program that was designed to ensure that all students are prepared for college or a career upon graduation. Many states across America are now adopting Common Core in an effort to minimize the educational disparities that exist in their schools.
Now that we understand what Common Core is, let's take a closer look at their eight standards of mathematical practice.
Eight Common Core Math Standards
The question ''Why do I need to learn this?'' is all too common in math classrooms. Math is a sticky subject for many people because it does not seem to apply to their lives. However, we know that mathematical aptitude is essential in life. How then do we make sense of math for our students? How can we equip them for success in math? Common Core's Eight Standards of Mathematical Practice may be the answer. Let's take a look at each one.
1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
This standard seeks to make math manageable for students. Students should be encouraged to map out a plan for solving the problem. They should begin by asking themselves what the end game is. What is the problem asking for? How can I solve this problem? Once this information is gathered, students should begin the actual task of solving the problem. They must continue to work until the solution is achieved and should be able to independently check their work.
2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
This standard exists to empower students with the ability to deconstruct the problem. What parts are involved? Can I create a visual of this problem? What is the connection between the numbers and the symbols in this problem? These simple acts empower students with the ability to apply abstract reasoning to concrete problems.
3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
This standard speaks to the need for students to understand the language of math. In other words, can they think through potential formulas and solutions and defend their positions? Do they use and understand mathematical vocabulary? Students should also be able to examine the work of others to determine if the solution works. If not, they should be able to contribute to the correct solution. In short, they should be able to demonstrate and defend how they arrived at a solution.
4. Model with mathematics.
This standard seeks to make math applicable to life. Students should see how math works in and applies to their lives. This gives it meaning for students. For example, what needs to happen for me to share my whole sandwich equally with my friend? This is basic math! This understanding makes math relatable instead of intimidating.
This standard seeks to teach students about the many items in math's toolbox - knowing when to use a ruler over a protractor, for instance. Students should be encouraged to solve problems with tools through trial and error. The act of reflecting on this process leads to great strides in students' understanding of math tools.
6. Attend to precision.
Close enough is not good enough in math. This standard sets the tone for this attitude in math instruction. Students must be encouraged to use exact figures and calculations in math. They must be able to articulate areas of confusion to eliminate approximations and miscalculations.
7. Look for and make use of structure.
This standard encourages students to look for patterns in math - for example, recognizing that if a formula worked before on a similar problem, it might work again. Or recognizing that if 5 + 3 = 8, then 8 - 5 = 3. Recognizing and using the structure of math leads to deeper understanding.
8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
This standard asks students to apply their knowledge in a broad sense. The idea here is that if a student understands how to solve a problem, teachers should refrain from giving them more of the same type of problem. Instead, students should be asked to take what they learned on that problem and generalize it to a broader problem. Being able to effectively do so demonstrates mastery rather than simple rote memorization.
Common Core is a set of standards designed to streamline education in grades kindergarten through 12 by eliminating discrepancies in teaching and learning. Common Core sets forth eight standards of mathematical practice to ensure that students are achieving appropriate levels of mastery. These standards ask students to:
- Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
- Reason abstractly and quantitatively
- Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
- Model with mathematics
- Use appropriate tools strategically
- Attend to precision
- Look for and make use of structure
- Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning