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 Post subject: partitioning in Year 4
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:53 am 
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My year 4 DDs spent about an hour yesterday doing 10 addition sums. The sums were, for eg, 356 + 223. Their instructions were that they had to use the partitioning method and so they dutifully went through the whole laborious process which took almost 10mins per sum because of the amount of writing out of figures that the process requires.

They are both bright girls, in top band for maths and were able to add 3 digits together (at home with me) in the old fashioned way (356
223) over a year ago.

So advice please. Should they still be being forced to do partitioning in Year 4 or should they ,by now, be able to choose an addition method to suit? Is there really a benefit to partitioning if you actually understand how to use the old method (including carrying numbers)?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:04 am 
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I'm not a teacher but am also a parent of a year 4-er in a top set. My understanding is that they start on the basics in the first 6 weeks' or so, before they proceed to the harder stuff because there may well be some kids, top set or not, who haven't grasped the concepts. My year 4 DS was doing partitioning last week and it then extended into partitioning into decimals, so that the DC understood exactly what the meaning of the place value was, eg that 0.003 was 3/1000ths.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:15 am 
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Last edited by Belinda on Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:28 am 
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When my DD was doing this she just enjoyed it as simply another method of doing addition. You'll find that once they finish that section they just revert to the method that is simplest for them.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:04 am 
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Thank you for your replies. I was so frustrated at the "waste" of time yesterday but don't mind if it's for the greater good!!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:35 pm 
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Dende, has she been taught the column method yet - i.e. the old fashioned method you refer to?

If so, don't worry yet. It's considered important to be able to use a range of methods for everything, and to pick the most appropriate one at the time for the calculation you have been given.

So for example, you might be fabulous at subtracting by the traditional column method with "borrowing" but if you were to do 100,000 - 99,996 by this method it would take a long time compared with just going -ok I need to add on 4 to get to 100,000 so the answer is 4.

My DD in year 4 top set is currently doing place value not including decimals, just up to 9999. I think I'm the one who should be worrying - not that she doesn't know a lot more than this, but that this year seems to have gone backwards somewhat.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:59 pm 
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The idea is that they are taught all the methods and then when they have grasped them all, they are free to choose which method suits them best. Some children who are all at sea with the column method can really understand partitioning so it is great that they have that option. So many children hate maths and do not understand it so if they can get more children away from that then I am all for it. I have taught partitioning to children who find maths hard and it is lovely to see them grasp it. My dd's are happy with the column method and found partitioning far too slow and that is probably the case for the majority of children who find it easy to grasp maths concepts. An amazing amount of children muck up place value questions in SATS so it is very important to put those building blocks in place. I am saddened by how many children in secondary school state how much they hate maths. I am a maths convert, I was not taught well in school and was once part of that big posse but no longer. I love maths now! DG


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:18 pm 
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No they're not forced to do that, i mean partitionning in Year 4.

DenDe wrote:
My year 4 DDs spent about an hour yesterday doing 10 addition sums. The sums were, for eg, 356 + 223. Their instructions were that they had to use the partitioning method and so they dutifully went through the whole laborious process which took almost 10mins per sum because of the amount of writing out of figures that the process requires.

They are both bright girls, in top band for maths and were able to add 3 digits together (at home with me) in the old fashioned way (356
223) over a year ago.

So advice please. Should they still be being forced to do partitioning in Year 4 or should they ,by now, be able to choose an addition method to suit? Is there really a benefit to partitioning if you actually understand how to use the old method (including carrying numbers)

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:45 am 
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Dende, it's interesting my year 4 daughter came home and showed me just the same thing yesterday. Both our schools must be using the same old national numeracy strategy units or something so that they are doing the same thing the same week.

She told me at the start of the week that they were doing lots of different ways of addition- number lines, partitioning, column method. She's done them all before, it's just revision so far as I can tell.

There's partitioning and partitioning though. They were shown a particularly messy method for year 4 top group I felt.

My daughter was showing me how to add 897 + 789 by a partitioning method the teacher had shown her. It went like this:

897 = 800 + 90 + 7
789 = 700 + 80 + 9

Then she added up 800 + 700 =
Then 90 + 80 +
Then 7 + 9 =

And then added the whole lot. But that requires more and more and more partitioning. It goes on forever (presumably the method your daughters were asked to do for homework too).

Now I can understand being taught lots of different methods, but being shown a deliberately stupid one seems silly. Maybe if one was told at the end it would be best to avoid this method if you possibly could it would be a good idea!

Now I thought they would be doing partitioning addition a bit more smoothly e.g

897 + 700 = 1597
1597+ 80 = 1677
1677 + 9 = 1686

Interestingly though some good did come of it. The reason we were having this discussion was because I was asking my DD to do something like 666 x 25 using long multiplication at the time. We were doing it the neat way (which she has not done at school); she said "I've got a better way".

She said it would be this:

600 x 20
60 x 20
6 x 20
666x 5
60 x 5
6 x 5

And add all that lot up. I said yes that's brilliant, had they done it at school? She said no, but she'd got the idea from the addition method the teacher had shown them (see above). So we had a discussion about which was the better way to do it. She was convinced her way was best. I said OK, you do it your way, and I'll do it the other way and the winner is the person who writes down the fewest numbers in getting to the right answer.

Of course long multiplication used up way less ink and time, and she made some errors with her long winded method which she would not have made in long multiplication (there is such a long winded add at the end and her columns were not straight so she missed some numbers out of the addition). I asked her which would be best in a test where you were short of time. I think she took the point.

She understands it both ways as do your children I am sure Dende. I am afraid I am a bit of a rebel Dende and I would have stopped them doing 10 very long-winded examples if they clearly understood it, let them do a small number and then asked them to do the remainder by all the other methods and tell me which methods were good in particular situations.

A lot of homework is a waste of time. This is why there is research showing that homework doesn't necessarily improve outcomes. It's because the homework can be poor.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:49 pm 
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Quote:
A lot of homework is a waste of time. This is why there is research showing that homework doesn't necessarily improve outcomes. It's because the homework can be poor.


Amen to that: either too easy or very badly worded.

Plus, much of my DS's homework is marked in class by the other children (they all swap around). When it comes back the following week, it is often marked incorrectly (both increasing and decreasing his scores!). I wonder which/ whether scores are kept ...

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