Three Things You Need to Know about Common Core Math

Common Core Math 7th Grade ProblemParents are always telling me that helping out with math homework is tough – like “I’d rather be scrubbing the bathroom” tough.  Most of us haven’t worked out equations for 20 years, and now with the introduction of Common Core State Standards, it feels like we have to learn math all over again.  Kids may be feeling this too, especially our middle and high school kids who are switching over to a new curriculum to meet the new standards.

We took a look at the Common Core Standards for math and pulled out the top things parents need to know right now to help kids through this transition.  We even included a few sample problems – see if you can do them!  If not, don’t worry, our math tutors can tackle any Common Core math problem, anytime.

1. Depth over Breadth-In general, the Common Core is designed to focus on a clear set of math skills and concepts in a narrower number of subjects. The standards are designed to help kids be “fluent” in math, to really understand what numbers mean to make good decisions. Is it better to buy 4 of something that are 50% off; or 6 of something that are 30% off? Teachers will be addressing both the “conceptual understanding of numbers” and “procedural skills.” The short explanation of this is that math instruction will be designed to encourage real understanding rather than rote memorization.

2.  Real World Learning – Tell your teen that you are trying to figure out how much ice cream to order for the graduation party. There are 60 people; they want 2 scoops; each scoop is half a cup and the ice cream comes in three-gallon containers. How many tubs do you need? Guess what your teen will be doing? That’s right. Solving for X.  And that’s what Common Core math is all about – applying math skills to real-world problems.

Have your child help with these type of problems when you are out shopping, planning parties, doing yard work (how much mulch do we need for the garden?), and they’ll see how math works in the world – and why it’s important to master it to help them with everyday situations.

3. Linking Learning Grade to Grade – The standards were created to build on each other not just through the school year but grade to grade.  So if your fourth grader is learning how to multiply a fraction by a whole number, she’ll expand on that in middle school when she learns to multiply a fraction by another fraction.  Don’t let her forget her math over the summer!

 Think you have  what it takes? Here are some sample questions for 7th  and 8th  graders posted on EngageNY.

1. Cassie rolls a fair number cube with 6 faces labeled 1 through 6. She rolls the number cube 300 times. Which result is most likely?

A          Cassie will roll a 1 or a 2 about 50 times.

B          Cassie will roll a 1 or a 2 exactly 50 times.

C          Cassie will roll an even number about 150 times.

D          Cassie will roll an even number exactly 150 times.


2.  A water tank is in the shape of a right circular cylinder with a height of 20 feet and a volume of 320π cubic feet.  What is the diameter, in feet, of the water tank?

A 16

B 10

C 8

D 4


Answer Key

  1. (C)  2.  (C)



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