The New Math......

WNYC, yesterday..... kindergartner being interviewed.

Reporter: "And what's your name?"

Henry: "Henry."

R: "And Henry, how old are you?"

Henry: "Five and four quarters."

That's why we ain't gonna beat China.


If he’s 6 and just showing off, good for him.

(I can’t wait until he learns how he’s Henry the eighths.)

DaveSchmidt said:

If he’s 6 and just showing off, good for him.

Mom clarified that he is 5.... 6 next month.

I’m not sure I even knew what fractional quarters were when I was only 5. Good for him.

(Maybe he was rounding up.)

This isn't directly related here in terms of commenting on the merits of the kid's answers but a young kid shouldn't be expected to also be adept at social norms and context. He could have been doing that to amuse himself or playing on some concept he learned recently with fractions and mixed numbers.

As for newer approaches to elementary math, I find it tiresome to hear people mocking what isn't the way they used to do it. Perhaps new methods came about because some students didn't quite get older ways. And not that is something people should do to stay current (unless they have kids requesting their help around the dinner table) but giving them a try helps with cognitive preservation as one ages.

As part of my rehab process I was put through progressively harder arithmetic exercises in my head with a trainer. They were annoying as hell at first but they worked as part of a way to restore working memory and visual processing. Once I stopped with the equivalent of yelling "Get off my lawn!" I made some good progress. They used a stepwise method of adding, subtracting and multiplying larger and larger numbers. Can you add 376 + 643 in your head? Great. How about walking through and reciting each step going from ones to hundreds or the reverse? It would sound like this for the hundreds to ones direction.

376, 976, 1016, 1019. Then try it within 20 seconds or say the steps on a metronome, and then faster.

If anyone wants to learn about other mental exercises using simple building blocks but that will still drive you crazy? Even if you're brilliant, these things are easily adapted to find each person's level and then tweak it just a bit harder.

pretty sure we didn't study fractions in kindergarten or first grade, so I don't know if I or any of my classmates back in the day would have known any better than this kid how many quarters of a year 11 months is.

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