Knowing And Teaching Elementary Mathematics

1763 Words Nov 3rd, 2016 8 Pages
Within the book Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics the author Liping Ma addresses the topics within math, which seem to be at war with each other. Only focusing on chapter 1 Ma discusses how some of the United States’ teachers view subtraction as well as how some of China’s teachers view subtraction. Ma interviewed 23 teachers from the United States and 19 out of the 23 or 83% focused on the procedure of subtraction with no context as to why. (pg. 2) When given the problem of 23-17 the majority of teachers stated that the best way to solve the equation was to “borrow” one ten from the tens place and add it to the three in the ones place because you could not subtract a bigger number from a smaller one. By doing so you can then subtract the 7 from the 13. (pg.2)This however, does not show the true meaning of why we are able to do that. It focuses on the procedure itself and does not elaborate to the student what is really going on. (pg. 3) The reason the teacher was not able to go further than this computation was due to lack of content knowledge on the subject. (pg. 3). This however makes it seem like there are really two problems going on when really there is only one. (pg. 4) These misconceptions can in the long run cause more distress on the part of the student who will later be solving problems where they can subtract a larger number from a smaller one. If the previous teacher has instilled a belief that it could not be done, it will frustrate the student to…
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