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Topic: rote learning math facts
Replies: 51   Last Post: Aug 23, 2002 6:38 PM

 Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
 mattsmom Posts: 483 Registered: 12/6/04
Re: rote learning math facts
Posted: Aug 16, 2002 9:32 AM

I doubt that anyone would deny that there is a need for math facts to
be memorized. The question is by which means and by what time.

David Ritchie writes:
>E.g, a person memorizes their times tables in 5th grade. Assuming the
intervening years continue to involve math which calls upon the recall
of the memorized facts, I think by 7th grade it has become intuitive.>
However, he does not describe the process whereby the memorization
took place in 5th grade. I think that Mark Houghton's insight in an
earlier post is worth keeping in mind. Mark Houghton wrote:
>To stick my own oar in, I think that in a debate about "rote
memorization", the focus to the debate should be on the little word
"rote", and not the strawman "memorization".>
I would say the question is not whether multiplication tables ought to
be memorized, but how.
It's possible to achieve memorization by different routes. I know my
son memorized his times tables by the end of 4th grade. I also know
he did that by the process similar to the one described by Kevin
than by attempting to memorize new facts in isolation., e.g., learning
6x7 by remembering that 6x6=36, and 36+6+42. Eventually, that
scaffolding is no longer necessary and it is possible to say 7x6+42
without going through the intermediary steps.

Some seem to argue that memorization works better than understanding
for students who are not blessed with high math aptitude. I do not
think that it is encroaching old age alone that makes me trust less
and less on my memory. How many of us have seen students staring at
blue books with a look of panic on their faces because their minds
have gone as blank as the pages in their blue books? It's the
knowledge that, even if they cannot recall the answer to a specific
question right now, they can proceed by retracing some of the steps
that calms them down. Those who cannot break down their thought
processes into manageable and recallable stages, on the other hand,
have the look of people trying to squeeze their memory as if it were a
lemon.

mattsmom

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Date Subject Author
8/1/02 Art Burke
8/2/02 Kim Mackey
8/4/02 Dr. David J. Ritchie, Sr.
8/4/02 mattsmom
8/4/02 Kevin Killion
8/5/02 Brian Harvey
8/5/02 Chergarj
8/6/02 mattsmom
8/4/02 Paul A. Tanner III
8/4/02 Bob
8/8/02 Art Burke
8/8/02 Chergarj
8/8/02 Art Burke
8/9/02 Paul A. Tanner III
8/9/02 Brian Harvey
8/10/02 Mark Houghton
8/12/02 Paul A. Tanner III
8/12/02 Paul A. Tanner III
8/12/02 Brian Harvey
8/13/02 Paul A. Tanner III
8/14/02 Brian Harvey
8/14/02 mattsmom
8/14/02 Mark Houghton
8/15/02 Rhombus
8/15/02 Rhombus
8/16/02 Dr. David J. Ritchie, Sr.
8/16/02 mattsmom
8/17/02 Brian Harvey
8/16/02 Paul A. Tanner III
8/16/02 Mark Houghton
8/17/02 Brian Harvey
8/18/02 Paul A. Tanner III
8/18/02 Mark Houghton
8/19/02 Paul A. Tanner III
8/17/02 Brian Harvey
8/18/02 Paul A. Tanner III
8/17/02 Michael Greene
8/17/02 mattsmom
8/17/02 Nat Silver
8/18/02 mattsmom
8/18/02 Nat Silver
8/18/02 Mark Houghton
8/19/02 mattsmom
8/22/02 Haim
8/22/02 Brian Harvey
8/23/02 Haim
8/22/02 mattsmom
8/23/02 Haim
8/19/02 Michael Greene
8/17/02 Michael Greene