# 4th Grade Common Core Aligned Math Using Letters, not Numbers

A mother gave me permission to post the worksheet her 4th grader brought home from “Go Math”, a common core aligned textbook.

Not only does the problem use letters instead of numbers, the mother informed me the children had not even learned long division yet or remainders. How can these children make sense of the problem when they don’t know long division, much less make sense of an abstract math problem that uses letters?

See if you can solve it. Does it make you angry that children are being subjected to common core aligned math? Is this really “clearer”?

Here’s information on GoMath! and Soar to Success Math:

GO Math!## Elementary Math Curriculum

## Grades K–6

GO Math!is a focused elementary math curriculumdesigned to meet the goals of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.The Standards for Mathematical Practice are integrated throughout the program. Students and teachers are supported as they advance from concrete to abstract content through the use of models and Math Talk. The flexibility, comprehensiveness, and rigor ofGO Math!provide personalized and adaptive 21st-century instruction to ensure success.

GO Math!in your classroom

- Written specifically for the Common Core
- Includes digital, print, or blended approach
- Differentiation ensures success for all

*this common core aligned math problem is begging the question:*

**Where in the World is Carmen****Sandiego?**…..

**Where in the World are the Teachers and School Administrators Protecting Students from Inappropriate Math?**

I agree that the Common Core is not developmentally appropriate for elementary kids. Would you suggest a specific curriculum that is an alternative for Math, that meets what you would wish to see used.

I have my options, but they are specific to homeschooling. As my son is presently enrolled in 4th grade in public school, I would like to hear and see alternatives that I could present to school board officials. There are crossover homeschool/traditional school materials, I’d just like to hear your alternatives.

Thanks!

There are lots of substitutes. I use Teaching Textbooks for my son who loves math but I started him off with Math U See. Math U See has a version that is published for schools.

Go to Education Freedom Coalition and they have a breakdown of all curriculums that are CC aligned and those who are not and refuse to align. Hope this is helpful.

sigh…some math puzzle that a kid like my extremely gifted aspie nephew could do as he thinks in numbers..but the rest of us..nope…not a clue and I don’t have all night to try and figure it out…WRONG on so many levels..take your schools and education back..or else…

This seems like an extra credit, just-for-fun problem. I can’t believe they expect many 4th graders to do this.

That said, C=1, I=2, S=3, E=4, U=5, A=7, N=9 . So the problem is:

179 / 5 = 35 r4

The dead give-away that it is an extra credit problem is the blue background. My kids’ school uses materials in a similar format, all the actual graded stuff is on a standard white background, while anything extra or “for fun” stuff is always on a light blue or light green background. While there may be issues with “Common Core,” it is pointless to stir up controversy where there isn’t any. I’ve always found it interesting that the political party most opposed to “Common Core” now were completely for it, right up until the party that now endorses it started to support it. Now, for extra credit, can we name the parties in question, and what their previous stances were?

common core is not a partisan issue. it had bi-partisan support, and it has bi-partisan opposition.

Is there a mathematical solution to this or process of elimination? It was easy to see that C had to be one but beyond that I didn’t see the means of determining the other values and I took a fair number of Math credits in school.

The problem is that the CU should be directly below the CA.

There was an entire book series of math problems like this. Geared toward 4th graders when I was in school. http://www.amazon.com/Sideways-Arithmetic-From-Wayside-School/dp/0590457268

This is not to say this isn’t difficult math but that it isn’t completely out in left field for a student to be asked to do this math.

Your link was helpful. The problem isn’t a mathematical one but more of a deductive reasoning puzzle. My problem with this example was that the alignment of the unknown values was right justified where long division is generally worked left to right so the example was misleading.

The key is the students haven’t gone over long division and remainders, yet.(Do we dare hope it’s picked up later?) That has been a problem this year,asked to solve problems without the background knowledge.

Fortunately, we are doing online school so with “extra” help from search engines we find out how to do what is asked. I can’t imagine trying to teach 10 kids, let alone 30 this way.

Wow! As a scientist and math tutor, this one took me 15 minutes to locate the key and finish the problem. It really requires a solid knowledge of multiplication and division, awareness of divisibility rules and higher level critical thinking skills.

Definitely NOT for a fourth grader.

However, with 8 years of math tutoring under my belt (and math through differential calculus at college), I am finding that much of the math being taught today in school and in home school curricula is far more complicated than it needs to be. It is also filled with, “learn this rule,” without any teaching of why the rule even works.

At our Naples, FL tutoring center, we key on the building blocks instead of rules for rule’s sake. Kids often comment, “is that all there is to it?” Our answer is a resounding, “YES!”

Mike Mogil

This is a just for fun activity. You can buy a logic puzzle book at the store and see the same kind of puzzles. We used to work logic problems in math classes all the time as a contest to see who could solve the puzzle first. People are trying to make the common core look worse than it really is by nitpicking at every little damn thing. My kids actually do better with common core than they did before. And most of the kids who aren’t are just going through the transition of learning a new method or actually learning period. You can’t expect a child who temporarily memorizes things to always have it easy. Students are actually now encouraged to critically think and ask questions about reasoning instead of memorizing facts. I for one am glad that my children cannot only tell me that 3×8=24 but can show me why 3×8=24.

I think it’s easy to get off on an “rabbit” trail when you start debating individual components of CC. It’s not “just” curriculum, (though it does merit critiquing) we should find issue with, it’s all of it. How it was federally encouraged through funding w/o most state legislatures being involved, the loss of local control on what and how schools would like to teach, standards being copyrighted by two private trade organizations, etc. (shall we go on?) It’s the WHOLE thing!! If I approached someone and told them they had to now live by my standards, because I think they are better, I don’t think a majority of people would just take issue with how they now need to dress. Hopefully, people would appalled and rightfully so, at the whole loss freedom and independence!!

Your blog post, “4th Grade Common Core Aligned Math Using Letters,

not Numbers | Missouri Education Watchdog” was

very well worth commenting down here in the comment section!

Really wished to mention you did a tremendous job.

Thanks for your time ,Gus