# Common Core Math and Its Difference from Traditional Math

12 minutes read

Created: April 5, 2022

Last updated: January 5, 2024

Math requires you to dig deeper into the understanding of why problems exist. And in that process, you find multiple solutions to the problems. After decades of solving math problems a certain way, teachers now use a new and improved method to teach math to kids. Although some parents may find this common core math method challenging to work with, it helps the kids.

## What is Common Core Math?

Common core math is a national educational standard encouraging kids to think of math problems differently.

Instead of just going for the first and easy solutions, common core math standards push kids to question the “why” behind each equation. When they have solved an equation, the kids don’t just move on to the next question; they have to figure out why the solution they picked worked for the equation in the first place.

At this point, you probably wonder, “Why common core math?” The answer is simple: common core state standards math helps kids build critical and analytical skills! If people go through life without questioning the reason behind the existence of things, life becomes pointless, and it is the same for math.

Enjoying the process that drives the reason why solutions work for certain problems is why Common Core Standards math is essential for kids.

Children and parents who find common core math practices complex do so because switching to a more cumbersome process might not be readily welcomed when you have worked with a particular simplistic pattern for a while.

When did common core math start? Common core math standards started and spread throughout the United States in 2010.

## Differences Between Common Core Math and Traditional Math

A few people will call this comparison common core math vs old math or common core math vs. traditional. But regardless of what the titles are, the significant difference in the traditional math vs common core conversation is in the approaches used for both. Mathematical equations often require formulas and pre-existing patterns that you must remember and sometimes maneuver to solve new problems.

New Math Common Core does not let you use the formula only. Instead, you must first understand why that problem exists, apply it to real life, and see how solving it on paper can translate to a real-life solution. If you are new to the common core curriculum math system, you may have heard this question: is Singapore math common core? Or is Saxon math common core? While the former is definitely common core standards, the latter fluctuates between editions. So, depending on your edition, Saxon could or could not be common core.

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## Standards of Common Core Math

Why is common core math good and what does common mean in math? The answers to these questions lie in understanding common core math standards. In the next couple of sections, common core math standards and the steps you should take when tackling a math problem will be covered.

### Make Sense of the Problem

The kids have to first understand the equation to the point that they can relate real-life happenings to it before they go on to solve the problem. Instead of jumping right into the solution, students should understand the significance of every math question and make sense of it by discovering its meaning.

Even after understanding the sense of the problem and finding a suitable strategy for solving it, kids still have to keep asking questions. When they have solved the problem, they should try another technique to see if it aligns with their understanding of the math problem. This approach will hone your child’s ability to think outside the box and improve adaptability.

### Practice Abstract and Qualitative Reasoning

What is common core math without the chance to think outside the box? At its core, new common core math helps students to think qualitatively instead of memorizing patterns. This thought process works by *decontextualization* and *contextualization*.

The former requires removing all the extras in a problem and focusing on just the symbols and numbers to solve the problem. Looking at common core math examples, let’s analyze this word problem: *Kelly has ten gummies; if she gives Brandon 6, how many does she have left?*

When solving this math problem while decontextualizing, you know that you only have to focus on the numbers. After simplifying the question and eliminating extra words, you just have to solve 10 – 6.

The latter requires looking at the problem in its whole form and mentally accessing each part to reach a solution. So, for the common core math example above, children will have to visualize and move things around either physically or mentally to get the answers to the word problem above. The goal is to ensure that both parts of this concept provide the same answer.

### Construct and critique viable arguments

Instead of focusing on a single solution to math problems, common core math standards demand kids find multiple strategies to solve an equation. The critique and argument standard works when students solve a math problem for the first time. It encourages them not to rely on one strategy but to try other steps to get to the solution.

Students should break the problem down, bit by bit, and find possible ways to solve it. They can now discuss it with their classmates when they have all reached a solution. Each kid should have learned new ways to solve the question by the end of the session. There are usually no outright right or wrong answers when teaching this standard. Whatever result a child gets, they should discuss how they got there, and then you can analyze the process together.

### Model with Mathematics

After solving a math problem, kids must learn how that problem and solution reflect on their daily lives. It is not enough to know that 1000 meters equals 1 km. Kids should understand what that means when on a journey, and the common core worksheets math teachers use help them with that.

You can see an example of a real-life representation of math for kids in bake sales. While helping you sell your cake, your child will use almost all the basic math concepts they learned in kindergarten. They will exercise their counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and money skills. Children who particupate in bake sales will learn how to calculate both small and large numbers, and more importantly, they will learn precision. It teaches them lessons about making mistakes when calculating and how detrimental they can be in real-life situations.

### Use the Appropriate Tools

Many tools are available for solving math problems or applying math solutions to real-life situations. However, the number of existing tools supersedes the number of students who know how to use them. So, you will often find students who don’t recognize the value of math tools and manipulatives.

This math standard teaches children to use the tools they have for solving math problems. Math tools could be pencils, scraps of paper, calculators, or even math common core worksheets with formulas. You should know that you cannot choose what tool a child should use.

However, you can give them a bucket of tools and have them pick out the ones they think they need. Then, supervise the kids as they try to use some approach to solve the problems they have at hand. Afterward, guide them through researching and see if they made the right choice or correctly used their tools.

### Build Precision

It is not enough to know the symbols; kids must also learn what they mean and how they can be used across different equations. Conversations around the math symbols or using common core math sheets can help the kids build precision.

In the early stages of education, children can build precision by explaining what they think about a symbol or math problem to their peers. As they age, they will better communicate their thoughts precisely in writing or speaking.

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### Identify Patterns and Structures

Structures are repeated patterns in math equations. Recognizing these patterns in math equations makes it easy for kids to solve complex common core math problems. It helps them build pattern recognition skills to break down complex math equations.

It also teaches kids the place of structure in problem-solving and critical thinking. Realizing that every math problem they face has an underlying framework will relieve tension during math tests. Understanding the framework will get kids halfway through solving the equation.

The beautiful thing about math is that there are no new concepts; every concept you meet follows the pattern of a previous one. Kids can quickly breeze through newer, more complex equations if they identify, study, and remember these patterns. Since common core math helps kids recognize those patterns, it explains why fewer and fewer people still believe common core math is bad.

### Identify the Relationship between Math Problems at Different Levels

Common core math for different grades exists. So you can use 4th grade common core math worksheets to teach kids in 4th grade, 6th grade common core math assessments for kids in the 6th grade, and so forth.

Still, when kids encounter an 8th-grade common core math problem, they can always use the patterns they used in solving a 7th-grade problem to try to solve the 8th-grade problem. It might not always give them a solution, but it will open their minds to the solutions for the 8th-grade problem.

Instead of abandoning past lessons, students can take ideas from the past when tackling problems arising from repeated reasoning. This standard works when students repeatedly test different methods to determine which variable stays the same. And what is common core math if not a system that grants people the freedom to provide more depth to math and real-world problems?

However, teach your students to beware of the thin line between recognizing different difficulty levels of a math problem and using one approach to solve it. The latter is the basis of the formula-focused approach in traditional math.

## Conclusion

Common core math standards exist to ensure that kids can understand math in a more explorative manner rather than the usual. Parents who find Common Core math a little cumbersome can always use online math platforms to help their kids understand it better. You can also use fun resources and systems like introducing a common core math meme or a common core math book to open your child up to the system.

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