Much Ado About Distribution, Dept.

traditional math

A common complaint–as in “see, math is being taught wrong”– is that students fail to see that equations like 3(x-5)=60 can be solved by dividing both sides by 3 first. Progressives seem to make a big deal about this to the tune of “If students are doing this, they lack ‘deeper understanding’ about equations.

Textbooks that claim alignment to the Common Core now make it a practice to show this.  The problem is that if you have 7(x-5)=60, the process isn’t so neat.

In my experience students ignore the lesson and go ahead and distribute.  I point out that they can do it the short-cut way (since all the problems in this particular lesson are structured so that the short cut can be used), but they still do the “long-way” distribution method. At first I was worried when students were not “getting” it, until I realized I was succumbing to the…

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