Simple Ways That Common Core Standards Help Math Students Learn

Simple Ways That Common Core Standards Help Math Students Learn

A unique aspect of the Common Core State Standards is that its focus goes beyond the familiar content of numbers, geometry, algebra, and statistics. They also include a set of Standards for Mathematical Practice, or SMP, that describe how people do when they do math.
The SMP is applicable to all grade levels, with kindergartens working at a level of development appropriate for them and high school students working at a more complex level. The list of SMPs is rather long – there are eight of them – and they are intertwined in ways that make it difficult for the average math teacher to tell them apart. Fortunately, it can be summed up in four simple statements about what students at all grade levels should be doing in a math class: ask questions, play, discuss, and communicate.
Ask many questions
Students should ask questions such as, “What if…?”, “Why?” and “How do we know that?” They should also strive to answer these questions. These may not be the questions you envision students asking in math class, but they are essential questions for learning more math.
play to learn
When children play, they make and try things. Don’t worry about getting everything perfect. They repeat the same scenario several times, changing it a little each time to see what happens. They challenge themselves. they laugh.
All of this can happen in math class, too. Math is a challenge, as are handstand, video games and soccer. All of these activities involve risk-taking and exploration. It should be math, too. Often, the line between play and action is drawn with consequences. If there is a high-risk activity, it is not fun and turns into a business. The Common Core classroom has many opportunities for students to play with math: to try something new, create challenges for themselves and others, get things wrong and try again.
Argued to reveal the facts
Arguing is a very sporting activity. A good argument has some agreement on a starting point, has some rules for moving forward, and seeks to uncover the truth. In the Common Core classroom, students have to figure out some things for themselves, which means they need to formulate an argument to support their reasoning. The complexity of these arguments increases as students age and gain more practice.
For example, in the second grade, the student may need to convince another person that the number 14 is an even number. In high school, a student might need to write proof that the sum of the angles of any quadrilateral is 360 degrees. Each of these activities is considered an argument.
Connecting facts and ideas
Mathematics is often taught as a long list of discrete facts, but it doesn’t have to be. Mathematical ideas are related to each other, and it is easier to use and remember them when students see the connections between them.

Learning multiplication facts – an activity rich in connections – sometimes boils down to a conditioned response activity. Mathematics does not memorize. Sure, being able to quickly remember multiplication and addition facts is helpful, but an overemphasis on memorization can prevent many students from developing the more useful skill of thinking about things they don’t know right away.