New math standards to be explained on Saturday

By Curt Yeomans


Math is becoming more than numbers on a piece of paper, or a chalkboard.

As the new Georgia Performance Standards are rolled out, math classrooms are becoming more like clusters. Students are going to be working more in small groups to solve math-themed word problems.

Next year, the "Math I" class for high school freshmen will be introduced. The new class will replace Algebra I, which is now being taught in middle schools across Georgia. Math I will include algebra, geometry and data analysis, said Jo Ann Moore, a school improvement specialist for secondary mathematics for Clayton County schools.

"It's not going to be just solving '3X+7=10' anymore," Moore said. "They [students] will need to figure out what is provided in the word problem, and what is needed. There's going to be a lot more critical thinking involved, and that's the basis of the new curriculum."

The school district is inviting parents, and other community members, to attend a "Math Expo" on Saturday, from 9 a.m., to 1 p.m., at the Eula Wilborn Ponds Perry Center for Learning, 137 Spring St., in Jonesboro. The Math Expo is designed to let the Clayton County community know what is going on in Math Class, Version 2008.

The Math Expo will include seven workshops, which will let parents see what their children are learning in the classroom. They will also get to see how math is used in every day life, ranging from finances and budgets to cartography. The workshops will be taught by Clayton County math teachers, and students will have an opportunity to participate by helping to teach the math to their parents.

The workshop topics will include:

· Meeting and exceeding the Georgia Performance Standards for math.

· Math in everyday life.

· The End of Course Tests (EOCT) for high school math classes.

· Math and finances.

· How to use a calculator.

· Introduction to Math I.

· Games which can enhance math education.

Parents will also learn how to use internet tools, such as the homework hotline, to help their children succeed in the classroom. The parents will also learn which web sites have practice tests for the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT), and the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT).

Marilyn Curtain-Phillips, a math teacher at Jonesboro High School, will put the new forms of math skills to the test during the Math Expo. She is going to be teaching the workshop on games, which can help a student improve in math. Some of the games include "UNO," "Monopoly," "Life," and "Equation Scrabble."

Curtain-Phillips said the games help a student, because they require a player to use logic and reasoning skills. The games make a player think about what the best move is, forcing him or her to analyze a problem and ways to solve it.

"I think the changes that are going on in math are a good thing," Curtain-Philips said. "There is a shift to a more task-oriented form of math. A lot of times, people don't like math because they don't think they'll ever use those skills. Now, they can see where it [math] comes into play in every day life."