For nearly two decades, a battle has raged over the best way to teach elementary and high school math.Then the Trib gives us an idea what the new-math loonies really mean when they tout that they "are more about understanding the concepts." Behold constructivist math in all its glory (click to enlarge):
On one side sit fundamentalists, who prefer old-fashioned drilling and a focus on the basics. On the other side are the so-called "new math" proponents, who care more about understanding the concepts than performing the calculations.
This monstrosity is called lattice multiplication. Supposedly, if you
Nonsense. I see no conceptual advantage in learning the lattice method either in lieu of or in addition to the standard algorithm. The only "advantage" to lattice multiplication I can see is that it separates the one digit multiplication steps from the carry steps which our standard algorithm combines.
This means that students have to keep less facts in their head to solve the problem. This benefits kids who do not have quick recall of the multiplication facts and prevents them from over-taxing their working memory. The new math focal points supposedly rectify this "quick recall" shortcoming in the previous NCTM standards.
So does the lattice method help students conceptualize multiplication better or is it just a crutch for students that haven't mastered their basic multiplication facts? You be the judge.
I'd say it's a ham-fisted "solution" to a problem they created for themselves by downplaying practice in favor of calculator use.