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Explaining Common Core Math in Simple Terms

written by: Ginean Royal • edited by: Carly Stockwell • updated: 2/25/2013

Are you ready to implement the Common Core math standards in your classroom? Although content has not changed greatly, methods of teaching have. Learn more about the foundational eight math practices.

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    iStock 000013814649XSmall Ready or not, here it comes. Actually, here it is. Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has taken over the vast majority of the United States’ school systems course of study. It has given us a guideline of what to teach but not the specifics of how to teach it. It allows the teacher to be more of a facilitator than a lecturer, guiding the students into reaching a conclusion on their own.

    The Common Core gets students to becoming resourceful and take ownership in their learning. This is a challenging concept, but a necessary one to escort our students into this age of technology and global competition.

    The foundation of CCSS are the 8 Mathematical Practices.

    1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
    2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
    3. Construct viable argument and critique the reasoning of others.
    4. Model with mathematics.
    5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
    6. Attend to precision.
    7. Look for and make use of structure.
    8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

    These practices are great, but it is difficult when teachers have been told for years to show students how to solve problems. You can even show them a few different methods of solving a problem but the challenge in this is that if a problem comes along that does not look exactly like the ones you demonstrated for them, they don’t know how to solve it. They even say things like, “You didn’t teach us how to solve this type of problem." We must get the students to figure some things out on their own. If they can come up with their own method which is mathematically sound, they will remember it and always be able to solve similar problems.

    The main point that must be understood is that the content has not changed greatly. We just have to have a student-centered classroom where the students are active learners. Students take the information that the teacher provides and then go several steps further. We can’t beat this information into their heads; we just provide the information and then nurture it until it grows.

    Below is a website that has the 8 Mathematical Practices in a PowerPoint. https://sites.google.com/site/bestnextcommoncoremath/mathematical-practices