Incoming 5th Graders and the New Everyday Math (plus a BONUS question that can win you a PRIZE!)

So, here's my eagerly-awaited second blog post about what the shift to the Common Core edition of Everyday Math this fall will mean for incoming intermediate-grade students. (If you weren't actually awaiting eagerly, it's okay.) Today, I'm looking at fifth graders.

As with incoming fourth graders, there are a few noteworthy shifts in the standards (which translate into "Grade-Level Goals" in Everyday Math-ese), and the new 5th grade curriculum might begin a few paces ahead of where the old 4th-grade curriculum left off. To ensure that your budding 5th grader is ready to roll in math class from day one, here are a few topics that I'm reviewing with my tutoring students, and that you too can review during this second half of summer break:

1. The Distributive Property of Multiplication Over Addition. Below is what's known as an area model (or grid area model) of how the Distributive Property is applied to the expression 6 X 18, which can be expressed as 6 X (10 + 8) or simply 6(10 + 8). The 18 is broken down into two addends, 10 and 8, and the 6 is "distributed" (i.e. multiplied by) the 10 and the 8 separately. Then, the two products (of 6 X 10 and 6 X 8) are added together. It can be thought of as a two-step process where the multiplcation happens first, and then the addition. (To reverse the Distributive Property, just flip the order of the two steps: the addition step happens first [10 and 8 are added together], and then the multiplication [6 X 18] is performed.)

A strong knowledge of the Distributive Property and its applications will be a tremendous help for students in middle school and beyond. It's especially handy when using mental math to evaluate and compute multiplication expressions.

2. Identifying prime and composite numbers. A prime number is one which has only itself and 1 as factors. (Factor: a number that you multiply with another number(s) to get a product). A composite number has at least one other factor besides 1 and itself. A common student misconception when kids first learn about prime and composite numbers is that composite numbers are even and prime numbers are odd. Discuss some examples that clarify this misconception (i.e., 21 is odd but not prime).

I interrupt this discussion to present: the Challenge Question for FUN and a FREE PRIZE! What certain type of composite number has an ODD number of factors? Each person who leaves a comment anywhere on my Facebook page with the correct answer, AND who "likes" my Facebook page , will have their name entered in a raffle to win their very own game of SET, the absurdly, addictively fun visual-perception family card game. Comments must be made by 10 pm on Saturday, July 18. Try not to Google the answer right away, smartypants!

3. Comparing and ordering whole numbers up to 1,000,000,000. This one's pretty straightforward. Previously, the grade-level goal for the end of 4th grade was to compare and order up to 1,000,000.

4. Adding and subtracting mixed numbers and fractions (with like and unlike denominators). Here, the shift is that mixed numbers have been added to the mix, if you will. Reviewing how to turn mixed numbers into improper fractions with your fifth grader certainly couldn't hurt (Multiply the fraction's denominator by the whole number, and add this product to the numerator; this sum becomes the new numerator). While you're at it, you can review how to use equivalent fractions to add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators.

And that's about it. The impact of the shift to the new edition of Everyday Math shouldn't be felt too strongly in grades K-3, since the new edition was already used in District 65 in grades K-2 last year. However, incoming 6th graders might also benefit from a dose of summer math; like last year's incoming 6th graders, they were taught from the "old" Everyday Math in 5th grade, and face the revamped, Common Core-aligned Connected Mathematics 3 (CMP3) in 6th grade. This leap seems daunting to some students and parents alike, but with a little extra effort and planning, kids and parents can successfully navigate the changes. More on this in my next post!