Parent Resource

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

By Joseph E. Powers, The Woods Academy, Head of School

Most of us parents were taught math a certain way. Like the vow we take in marriage, for better or worse, how we learned math was better or worse. It was black and white and there was very little critical thinking involved. Computation was king. In marriage, we know for better or worse means there is give and take and it is a relationship that works because two people make it work. There is no one formula to make it work, rather, there are many variables that factor into making it work.

Math, today, is not much different. Math as we knew it has changed. For all you parents out there, try and solve the problem in the picture below. This is the work the 5th graders are doing in math now.


Can you solve it correctly? While computation is very important, critical thinking has rightfully made its way more front and center in math work these days. This is not a bad thing at all.

Now, if only I could solve the problem above. I know what I will do, ask a 5th grader. Just like Mikey from the Life cereal ad (who lived in my neighborhood growing up), they “like it.” To be honest, I like it too. Our future is bright with great problem solvers. Stay tuned for more news on our math program.