As I wrote, yesterday, I have been using Eureka Math for a couple of years. I discovered the program being discussed in several professional blogs, and I finally checked it out for myself.
I also found Scott Baldridge, Lead Mathematician and Lead Curriculum Writer. Scott and his daughter Autumn introduce Eureka in the video posted here. I encourage parents and teachers at all elementary levels to view this video to understand more about the heavy emphases on number sense, multiple methods, and more.
I suppose Common Core is greatly responsible for our new understanding that math must be emphasized at elemental levels if our nation is to compete globally in areas such as engineering. Now, I know, Common Core is a dirty word among many, and I fully understand - but to dismiss it completely is a mistake. It is responsible for a renewal in the importance of math. The problem was, it was foisted upon us by a government that intended to take a nationalized approach to education - something fully outside the Constitutional responsibilities of the U.S. government in the first place.
Another problem was that Common Core was too hard to understand. Who in the real world understands the following math standard?
Decompose a fraction into a sum of fractions with the same denominator in more than one way, recording each decomposition by an equation. Justify decompositions, e.g., by using a visual fraction model.
Thankfully, Scott Baldridge and the team at Eureka Math have at least given us some visuals and practical approaches to these types of standards. Without all the extra bells and overpriced whistles of the conglomerate textbook companies, Eureka Math is the first math package this teacher can sink his teeth into. Too much about it confirms my strongest teaching methods. Too much about it just makes sense. When I needed to embed more number sense in my instruction, Eureka Math came to the rescue, referring me even to a new exercise called Sprints, developed by Bill Davidson. When I wanted something to take students deeper, Eureka came into focus: I'be found the lessons do not hold back, and when it's necessary, they guide students through the steps that not only challenge, but explain.
I bought into this curriculum two years ago, and it's interesting - through the major transitions of our district and its leadership - that we are adopting it in all of our schools. It makes me happy to bring others on board.
My only concern is that other schools and other states have a head start on us. Plus, if teachers simply follow the literal script that is laid out in each of the lessons, Joplin Schools will only be as good as any others when our students enter the workplace or college. We must make this curriculum our own in the classroom. We must take the solid curriculum we've been given and mold it into our individual teaching personalities. If we don't, we might easily justify teacherless classrooms, just like the auto industry is starting to phase in driverless cars. If we are all the same, artificial intelligence will take over our classrooms. Automated online instruction will become the norm and not the exception.
Instead, let us embrace the opportunity to run with Eureka Math.