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  • Noel McMillin

    November 28, 2022 at 5:23 pm

    It is my 3rd-grade year and 1979. Math class is an “Around the World” competition. Fortunately for me, I was pretty darn good, either that or the rest of my classmates were just bad. I am going with the former. I was a lucky one and memorization came easily for me but I really don’t think it was all just memorization. I think I always understood that 4 groups of 5 is 20 and could see that in my mind’s eye. Too many students cannot make sense of repeated addition and it makes math so frustrating for them (and me).

    It doesn’t even have to be multiplication facts. So many students struggle with simple addition and subtraction. My 7th-grade and 8th-grade math classes consist of many students who still count on their fingers. For instance, 12 – 8 equals 4. A possible strategy is to subtract 2 two times. The same applies to 17 + 8. Add three to get to 20 and then add five more.

    Our best friends love to play the card game Euchre. The scores get into the hundreds. I literally watched my friend, who has an advanced degree in the medical field, add two numbers in the hundreds using the traditional algorithm – add the ones, carry, add the tens, carry, etc. I actually was a little shocked. I would have added the hundreds, then tens, and ones being sure to adjust accordingly.