Google, Grocery Store Math and Math Culture
In today’s world of smart phones and Google, almost any math problem can be looked up and instantly solved with a calculator or the internet.. “Knowing” is becoming less important than problem solving and understanding. Experts tell us that too many kids in school are doing little more than, “applying procedures to problems they really don’t understand for reasons they don’t really get.” (https://bigthink.com/think-tank/we-need-rock-star-math-teachers)
At Touchstone, we immerse our students in a positive math culture to build ingrained math thinking habits. Through authentic learning experiences and hands-on, minds-on investigations, we help students realize that math is all around us and part of our everyday life. The development of strong mental math skills, better known as “grocery store math”, plays an important role in the math curriculum at our school.
In a recent professional development session with Marian Small, a nationally recognized math education researcher, our teachers practiced the art of asking better open-ended questions – questions that challenge children of all levels and which lead to meaningful and rich conversations that touch on a number of interlinking mathematical concepts.
Math knowledge and memorizing facts remains important, but it isn’t enough. Students need to have deep mathematical understanding and be adept problem solvers. Touchstone students are learning to use their mathematical thinking skills all the time, not just in math class