In recent months, various examples of Common Core math problems have surfaced on the Internet. At this point, they are nothing new. That said, a recent one has gotten a lot of attention because many believe it makes no sense – particularly because of the wording.
The math problem, which has been posted by the Independent Journal Review, asks a student to tell how they can make 10 by adding eight plus five. Initially, based on the phrasing of the question, it seems that there is no possible way to get 10 when adding eight and five because the sum of those two numbers is 13, but when the student who answered the question explains that, the teacher tries to tell them that they’re wrong.
“Yes you can,” replies the teacher. “Take two from five and add it to eight (8 + 2 = 10). Then add 3.”
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“Wow. You subtract two from the five because you need two to make TEN! That's what she is doing. That leaves 3, SO 10 + 3 = 13. It only seems ridiculous on this basic level, but when things get more complicated, it makes sense and it is a good system,” wrote a commenter named Judy. “First of all, I hate Common Core, but this is not one of the reasons. This is not unlike the math whizzes who teach children mathematical shortcuts. When seen on a small scale like 8 + 5, it looks ridiculous, but when this same procedure is applied to more difficult problems, it really does make sense. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. Use this system with a difficult problem, and you will see that it can easily help children do complicated problems in their heads.”
Others responded to Judy’s explanation.
“Judy: Sorry but that is absolute hogwash. I can do complex math problems in my head and I've never had common core instruction one. I don't see how taking a simple math problem and turning it into four math problems is going to help a child learn more quickly,” wrote user Hunnymunny.
What do you think about this question? Is this a good method for teaching children math?