Last night, my good homeboy Mike introduced me to his frustration over the new common core math style that has ran the conservative gauntlet of criticism since the Common Core State Standards suddenly became AGGHH! EVIL! When the POTUS signed his name to it. As much as it pains me to do so, I will share this link to show you what I am talking about. Yes, THAT Tea Party. Why? Because the only criticism you are going to find of this new math is from foaming at the mouth, Barack Obama is a stinking commie Muslim non citizen, conservative right media outlets.
Anyhow, we argued, because we argue. We have good times arguing and if you know me, I love a good debate. Anyhow, this is not about the frustrations of change and the challenges of wizard math. This is about a type of multiplication that I was introduced to amidst the arguing. It’s called lattice multiplication, and boy is it interesting. Well, as interesting as math generally gets.
I learned this last night and wow, it is hard at first, but once you get the hang of it, well, it’s actually kind of fun. Now, would I ever work out a problem like this when I need to? Perhaps not. However, it’s a different way of finding a solution to a problem. I showed some of my students this style of multiplication and they would have none of this alternative thinking, which is indicative of the problem that those supporting the CCSS are cramming down teacher’s throats: Our students are not taking enough chances with their education, limiting the quality of enhancing their problem solving skills. Lattice multiplication terrified my students. Hell, it terrified me, but guess what? One student liked it. That means introducing new concepts may be in fact the right way to teach math. Maybe we should be offering different routes to solve a problem. Hopefully that translates well into the real world, and the Common Core ends up being a great idea, as opposed to a terrible idea.