Summer Break & Summer Work

Summer Break

Just a reminder to our readers that we tend to take a break from posting over the summer.  We will return with test score data when scores are released to the public in late July or early August.  Until then, conversations will continue on our facebook page, but articles will not be posted here regularly.

Summer Work

We remind parents of children in grades 3 – 8 that the school system will be implementing a new math program in the Fall.  The school division doesn’t appear to have done any sort of analysis of the gaps between the knowledge expectations of the new program and the Math Investigations based program we’ve been using, nor made any effort to provide instruction to fill those gaps.  As a result, next year will be a challenge for some students as Math Connects, the new program, has different knowledge and work expectations than Math Investigations, the old program.

The biggest challenge will be overcoming the different work expectations.  Our old Math Investigations based program requires students to solve a handful of problems to demonstrate understanding of a concept; Math Connects, our new program, expects students to solve 20 questions as a warm-up.  So be prepared for lots of complaining and whining.

As far as content gaps are concerned: below is a list of topics you may want to ensure your child understands before the school year starts.  These are topics that Math Connects expects students to have learned that Math Investigations doesn’t cover in its core program in the same grade level, if at all.  The list is not all inclusive as I’m sure I’ve missed some topics.  Some teachers have covered these topics, so your child may have already been exposed to or taught them.

Soon to be 3rd Graders

Addition and subtraction facts through 10 + 10 or 20 – 10, to automatic recall (which means they can correctly solve 20 fact equations in 2 minutes).  Pay particular attention to subtraction facts and operations as Investigations doesn’t give subtraction the attention it deserves and many of our students struggle to understand subtraction.

Standard algorithms for addition and subtraction up to or from 999.

Soon to be 4th Graders

Math Facts:  Addition and subtraction facts through 10 + 10 or 20 – 10, to automatic recall.   Multiplication and division facts through 12 x 12 to automatic recall, as required per the VA SOLs.  Automatic recall means 20 fact equations solved correctly in 2 minutes or less.  Students will need to recall both the multiplication AND division facts.

Standard Algorithms for addition and subtraction.

Soon to be 5th Graders

Math Facts:  Addition and subtraction facts through 10 + 10 or 20 – 10, to automatic recall.   Multiplication and division facts through 12 x 12, to automatic recall.  Automatic recall means they can correctly solve 20 fact equations in 2 minutes or less.

Operations with Whole Numbers: Standard Algorithms for addition, subtraction, and multiplication. Standard Algorithm for long division, with a 1 digit divisor and remainder (e.g. 154 divided by 5).

Fractions:  Simplifying or reducing fractions, making fractions similar by finding a common denominator, adding and subtracting fractions with dissimilar denominators by finding a common denominator.   This is basically performing operations with fractions arithmetically, instead of with folded bits of paper or clock faces.

Soon to be 6th Graders

Math Facts: Addition and subtraction facts through 10 + 10 or 20 – 10, to automatic recall.   Multiplication and division facts through 12 x 12, to automatic recall.  Automatic recall means they can correctly solve 20 fact problems in 2 minutes or less.

Operations with Whole Numbers and Decimals:  Standard algorithms for addition, subtraction, and multiplication.  Standard algorithm for long division, with both whole numbers and decimals.

Fractions & Mixed Numbers:  Simplifying or reducing fractions, making fractions similar by finding a common denominator, adding and subtracting fractions with dissimilar denominators by finding a common denominator.   This is basically performing operations with fractions & mixed numbers arithmetically, instead of with folded bits of paper or clock faces.

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