Caught off-guard and a little too tired to contemplate such ancient mysteries, I just laughed and told him I wasn’t sure anybody knew exactly why it had been constructed and to go to sleep.
This beautiful, smart, funny, curious, exasperating child is the same one that is currently failing Math. Although he has As and Bs in Social Studies, Science and Language Arts, he also has severe difficulty with writing and spelling.
Math is currently our biggest challenge, however. I think one of his biggest problems is that he still doesn’t have his multiplication tables totally memorized, which doesn’t bode well for complex multiplication and division. We’re working nightly on memorizing and reviewing the tables. Also problematic is the fact that apparently at some point in the past twenty years multiplication and division began to be taught using the drawing of squares and stick figures (I’m told this is called the lattice method). However, I don’t understand any of it and, based on his test scores, he doesn’t either.
Further complicating matters is the result of a “Thanksgiving math project” he was assigned. To my understanding, the goal of the project was to:
-Determine, based upon a projected number of pounds of various items (turkey, potatoes, pie) needed, what the cost of the dinner would be by researching prices and
-Figure the correct cooking time for the turkey.
He was to provide answers to the questions, showing his work, provide a written explanation of what he had done and prepare a visual aid to present to the class on the subject. I helped him a lot with the project, so I was rather shocked to see it returned with a grade of 50. I’m certainly no math whiz, but I’m pretty sure I multiplied right. I questioned the teacher as to the grade. After reviewing it, she changed the grade to a 62 (still an F in his school system). According to him, some of the students in his 5th grade Math class presented bulleted, illustrated Powerpoint presentations, which must have made our posterboard poster look pretty lame by comparison. But, an F, seriously?
Anyway, I guess all that’s left to do at this point is to continue plugging away at the multiplication tables. By the way, maybe Stonehenge was the first example of lattice math at work. Makes as much sense as anything else…