elementary school math is the root of all evil

I am now convinced that public schools have figured out that they can destroy society in one fell swoop by employing “new” ways to do multiplication. My 4th grader is multiplying 3, 4, and 5 digit numbers. Easy, right? WRONG! You have to use “partial products” and “lattice” multiplication methods. Take the lattice system:

Lattice split into sections showing 183 x 49

Looks good. But when you are either dyslexic or ADD, you lose track quickly of which lattice you are on. Or now consider the partial products system:


 Clearly, this system is designed to infuriate fathers and sons, create more opportunity for conflict and tear the entire fabric of society to shreds!

Can any of my math loving readers tell me what was wrong with the old method (also depicted to the left of the partial products)? By the way, I saw one website telling me that some person in the 15th century first created the lattice method. So? Someone also came up with the great idea of blood-letting and phrenology. But we learned those things wouldn’t work.

Sigh. Deep breath. Okay, hissy fit over. 


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6 responses to “elementary school math is the root of all evil

  1. Not the new math! (shudder). The school district next to ours does new math. Praise Jesus, we do old math.

    I could barely figure out old math, God help us all with the new math…

  2. Mark Aris

    Leeches are actually good! God made them! Leeches’ saliva contains a substance that prevents or desolves blood clots that could interfer with human blood. They also help decrease swelling and improve circulation.

    Math though – God created that too and He’s mathematical, but I’m not. I hate math and get lost too! My mom showed me your math problem and I said, “Argh!”

    Mark (in 5th grader)

  3. Mark,

    I stand corrected. You are right. Leeches have value. I know math does too. But I’m not so sure about the new math.

    I’m not mathematical either. That is the problem for me.

    I hope you have better success in it than I did.


  4. thecounterblogger

    I am not sure I understand the problem.

    With the lattice when I multiply 8 x 8 I get 3452.
    What could be more clear?

  5. Partial products method looks like the lazy man’s way of doing multiplication – you don’t have to remember what gets carried to the next column. It is rather intuitive, but assumes the student knows how to add long strings of numbers without a calculator and has the basic multiplication tables memorized. I’ll do it the old way thank you very much – my mind needs the mental exercise. As for the lattice, if you explain it, I might understand it. And yes, I was good in old math…… Geeks rule!

  6. Penny

    I would rather do statistics all over than to face this math again. Thank God my children are past old math, new math, etc.

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