I can’t believe how much math has changed since I was in school!
When I was in third grade, math, at least as I remember it, primarily focused on memorizing multiplication tables and learning about fractions. Well, Turkey and Bunny did that last year. Sure, it’s something we’re still reviewing, but the concepts are old-hat by now. Something else they learned last year, which was surprising to me at the time, was an introduction to simple equations:
n +6 = 14
n -2 = 12
I know this is very basic “solve for n” situation, but I’m fairly certain that I was approaching junior-high age when I learned these things. Maybe around fifth grade? I guess my memory could just be foggy, but either way, I was shocked when they learned this last year. I have heard that the math curriculum we’re using, (Horizons), tends to run a grade level ahead, but having no other experience with math curriculum, I don’t know if this is true, or just something Horizons users tell themselves to feel superior. Regardless, it’s certainly ahead of where I was at this grade level!
This year, I continue to be shocked by the things they’re expected to learn in math. For example, we’ve begun order of operations. Yes, the most simple format possible, but the concept is still being introduced:
(4 + 3) + 2 = (2 + 6) + 1
I told you it was simple, but to me, it’s a huge step for third grade, learning that you need to do the part of the problem in parentheses first. Yes, since it’s all addition, it doesn’t really matter at this point, because they’re going to come up with the right answer no matter how they do it. But it’s a concept that they’re learning, that they’ll apply to more complex problems later.
We’ve delved into more complex equations this week, as well:
n + 6 = 4 x 3
Not only is the equation more complex, but they’re continuing to learn about order of operations on top of it–do multiplication before addition.
They’ve actually taken quite well to all of these concepts, which is a big relief for me as their teacher. I’m still kind of mystified that they’re learning this stuff already, though, (but I don’t discount the fact that I simply may be out of touch with what is standard math curriculum these days!), and slightly concerned what this means for us in a few years!