Mathematics- the best curricular approach, why was it so hard to think of?

08 Apr

This is going to be a multi-part post outlining a very intuitive but common sense approach to making math work for ALL students in our schools.

It requires some flexibility and learning to do things differently but will be the solution to mathematical success for our country.

Step 1:  what are your goals?  Before you can meet an expectation, you need concrete measurable goals.  I would suggest that each state set these up in order but not by grade level, just sequentially.

** Example:  Learn to understand the meaning of fractions, when fractions are appropriate, how to do arithmetic with fractions (multiply, divide, add, and subtract).  Along the way learn skills that are needed to teach these skills like LCM and credits cross cancellation.  Have student solve and write one and two step problems that use fractions.  Do applications with fractions like altering a recipe.   Students should test at 90% before they leave their his unit.

Each unit builds on old skills, can incorporate old skills and includes applications.  Each unit stands on its own and students do not progress until they pass each unit with 90% or better.  They also should have regular mixed reviews, they must pass to show hey are retaining old information.

Each Math grade is marked by what level you are in:

you can move as fast or slow as needed and those who struggle will have a smaller ratio of teachers to students to help them.  Students further along can get extra pants by helping those who need it.

  • Sampe School


(form sake of ease, lets have 8 students)

Students 1,2 are at about same level and are working at level 1, they work on counting to 10 and matching quantity to the numbers.  They also learn about symbolic addition and subtraction and subtraction with stories of there were 2 cookie, mom baked 3 more and put them on the plate, now there are 5 cookies on the plate.  The OR Amy had 4 cookies, her friends ate 2, now she has 2 cookies left.  Fnally, the learn about counting by 2 and exploring what even means.  They also learn and match core shapes and discuss how many sides they have.They do many hands on and teacher directed activities related to these concepts.  Some are concept build and some will be tested.  They practice for the tested skills.  Can they match quantity with number?  Can they count to 10? Can they tell which number is even ? And can they match a number sentence to a story problem read to them?

Another 3 students can already do all that or do it so quickly, they are moved to level K2.  In this group, students have to explore numbers from 11-15.  They have to learn to count by 2’s to 20.  They begin to do addition and subtraction with the numbers 0-5.   They also have to match it to stories.  They study odd numbers.

Another 2 students are in K3, here they count to 100.  They count by 10’s and by 5’s to 100.   They look at the numbers 1-100 if even or odd.  They add and subtract with 0-9 digits and with two digit number where you don’t carry.  They introduce the idea of place value.

The last student is smart enough that she is doing grade 1 math in kindergarten, so she in in Level 1 math.  She learns place value for thousands, hundreds, tens, ands, ones.     She starts writing bigger numbers, she learns how to exchange for place value and the difference  between states c and dynamic addition.  She also applies this to subtraction.  She starts looking at data and graphing.  She can now count by 2,3,5,and 10 and they investigate the patterns of 9’s.  She leans to apply her knowledge to real world problems and think of problems where she might need her math skills.  All of these skills are tested and she stays at this level until she has 90% mastery.

First Graders may find that they did not finish all of the K goals and may not start at level 1 or they may be ahead and may be doing much higher level work.  No levels, except for the K levels are associated with a grade and a K student doesn’t have to finish the K levels after leaving K.


once all the levels are determined, the goal will be that all students take four full years of math and meet the minimum of finishing the highest level which will equal 90% mastery of Algebra 1,2, and Geometry/Statistics/Finance blend for graduation, with a prorated number of levels required for grade promotions in between.

College bound students are enoured to finish all levels and one additional courses beyond such as PreCalc, Discrete Math, Or statistics.

STEM students are encouraged to finish all levels plus pre Calc, Calc AB, Calc BC, and if possible AP Stat.

The difference with this and the current plan is that it breaks Math into small pieces and goals with required mastery of that area before moving on.  The focus becomes quality, not quantity.  I would rather graduate an A student in Math 1-3 than  D/F student in Math 1-4.





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