One of the hallmarks of Common Core math is the frequent use of the term “real-world application" across the standards. This can work to the teacher’s advantage, as students can apply their math knowledge to situations they encounter in their daily lives, thus answering the age-old question of “When will I ever use this?" Teachers can incorporate items from the classroom, grocery stores, garden or students’ homes to give students the opportunity to connect what they learn to their own lives.
For example, upper-grade students who are using Common Core standards in the classroom should be able to take an ad from a local store and analyze prices, determine unit rate, organize the information into measurable data and create their own math problems with solutions, all using the mathematical knowledge they have gathered and applied throughout the year.
Although Common Core math presents new challenges for teachers, parents and students, it also provides a unique opportunity to make math more enjoyable and understandable for students to learn and for teachers to teach. Parents can support this learning at home by encouraging students to use their reasoning skills to solve mathematical problems in real-life situations, which will give students an added measure of comfort when learning new math skills in the classroom.
Approaching Common Core math with a little creativity and excitement can go a long way toward promoting student success, and can help engage the students in our country in a way that encourages them to compete on an international level with their peers.