13 minutes read

April 5, 2022

# Common Core Math and Its Difference from Traditional Math

There are numerous approaches to solving math problems, but kids always prefer easier ones, which leads to a decline in innovation and critical thinking. Teachers use a new system to teach math to students. Parents may struggle to use the same method, but it helps their kids become better problem solvers. This math method is called common core math.

## What is common core math?

Common core math is a set of national educational standards that push kids to think of math equations differently. With common core math, kids begin questioning the relevance of each equation.

Instead of just solving an equation for its sake, common core math makes children deliberate the reason behind the equation. After solving the problem, they can figure out why their approach worked for the equation.

Now, a big question in your mind may be ‘what is the point of common core math?’ The obvious answer is that the approach helps kids build their analytical and critical thinking skills.

If people never learn to question or find the motivation behind math problems, then the entire purpose of learning becomes pointless. You should seek to understand why an equation exists and its relevance instead of merely finding a way to solve it. The thought process involved in finding solutions for math problems is the reason why common core math is good.

A lot has changed in math, and with the introduction of common core math, there seems to be a disconnection between older generation and children today. If you ask some people why common core math is bad, they might say they don’t see its use and that it makes math unnecessarily complicated. But knowing that their resistance is caused merely by the abrupt change in teaching methods, you can rest assured that the future of your child’s learning is safe.

## How is common core math different from traditional math?

To appreciate common core math, you must learn to draw a parallel between real-life situations and math equations. With traditional math, a student simply has to remember tables and formulas and then use them to solve math problems.

Traditional math was easier for most students because understanding formula applications was all they needed to get by. Common core math is different; you have to think of ways to apply that equation to daily life, which takes more time. If you cannot use an equation in real life, then it should not exist — that is why common core math works.

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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

When a child first comes in contact with a math problem, they shouldn’t begin by applying a formula they had stored in their brains beforehand. Instead of just jumping right into the solution, students should understand the significance of the math question they have at hand. Kids should first make sense of the math problem 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. The use of this approach will hone your child’s ability to think outside the box and improve adaptability.

### Develop abstract and quantitative reasoning

One of the kindergarten skills kids learn is concentration, which is developed further at school. Third-grade students may handle abstract math equations better, but junior students still have to overcome distractions. The second standard helps solve this problem by introducing *decontextualization* and *contextualization*.

Both terms are integral in understanding and solving a math problem. Decontextualization makes you understand that the symbols in a problem are different from the whole problem and that you should treat them accordingly. For instance, let’s analyze this word problem:* Kelly has ten gummies; if she gives Brandon 6 gummies, how many gummies 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 realize that you just have to solve 10 – 6.

However, when contextualizing, you need to look at the problem as a whole and solve it using the elements involved. This strategy requires a physical or mental assessment of the problem to make sense of all the aspects. So, for the word problem above, children will have to visualize and move things around either physically or mentally to get the answers to the word problem above.

### Construct and critique viable arguments

Readers will likely have varying approaches to solving a problem. However, we must encourage kids to know and discuss different common core math standards. Common core math teaches kids that there are multiple ways to solve a problem while helping preschoolers build kindergarten math skills like mathematical communication.

The critique and argument standard works when students solve a math problem for the first time. It encourages them to not 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. When they have all reached a solution, they can now discuss it with their classmates. 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.

Before the discussion begins, ask kids personal questions like what challenges they faced when trying to solve the question or what they learned as they worked their way through the problem. Then have them share these thoughts with their classmates. They must take time to understand own ideas and answers before expressing them.

### Model with mathematics

The *Model with mathematics* standard is probably the most crucial standard in common core math. In traditional math, students learn how to solve math problems and then move to more advanced concepts. However, they cannot apply the problems they solve in real-life situations. While it may be tough to create a learning system that fits every child, transforming textbook math to real life will make math more exciting and understandable for everyone, no matter their learning level.

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. It is one of the vital steps for helping preschoolers build kindergarten math skills. The challenge is recognizing the value of every math tool or manipulative and learning the way to solve math problems with it.

Math tools could be pencils, scraps of paper, calculators, or 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

As math problems become more complex, children need to understand what symbols they are using at a specific time and how to define them. Children should hold conversations around math with their peers. These conversations will help them build the level of precision that is necessary as they advance in school.

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 grow older, they will better communicate their thoughts precisely in writing or speaking.

Understanding and explaining the complexities of mathematical symbols and equations answers the question ‘‘Why is common core math better than traditional math?’ The more clearly children can explain math concepts, the faster they can apply math problems to real-life situations.

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### Identify patterns and structures

Contrary to what people may think, there is no new concept in math. Each idea is a more complex offshoot of an already existing notion or mathematical theory. But kids sometimes get confused when they encounter new math topics, so they need a standard that focuses on structure.

Structures are repeated patterns in math equations. Recognizing these patterns in math equations makes it easy for kids to solve complex 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.

They can also apply this approach in their daily lives by analyzing the foundation of issues as one of the first steps to solving them. And what’s common core math if it doesn’t help you get through life’s challenges faster?

### Identify the relationship between math problems at different levels

Much like the previous standard we explained, some math problems look familiar. For example, math in the 7th grade comes up in a more complex form in the 8th grade. It is okay for students to use the knowledge from the 7th grade as a basis for solving their 8th grade math questions. They can revisit math problem from the 7th grade as a a model to solve the current ones.

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 them. The latter is the basis of the formula-focused approach in traditional math.

## Conclusion

Common core math is a set of math standards that encourages kids to think analytically about math equations. With the introduction of common core math standards, the old way of learning math may fade away. As a parent, if you struggle to teach your child kindergarten math skills or more advanced concepts like common core math, sign your kids up to Brighterly, where they can learn the common core math standards using games and fun videos.

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