o A New York Times article ( Fuzzy Answers: The New, Flexible Math Meets Parental Rebellion) includes this wonderfully delicious look at a Chicago school where Math Trailblazers was used:I suspect this pollution of fuzzy math goes on quite a bit. Teachers might sneak in real math, parents may do real math with their kids (on the kitchen table if necessary) or hire tutors.
The Daniel Boone School, in West Ridge, a tidy working class part of Chicago brightened by magnolia trees and the babushkas of Russian grandmothers, has been a laboratory for the development of TIMS Math Trailblazers, a constructivist program created by the University of Illinois. Math scores have risen since the program was put into effect. The principal, Paul Zavitkovsky, credits the program, but does not rule out increased attention to math, teacher training and collaboration.
In fifth grade the other day, Mila Kell, a Russian immigrant, taught a crisp lesson in probability, improvising riffs on the probability that the sun would rise in the morning and that she would fly to the moon. The class was enchanted.
Mrs. Kell said she loved the freedom and creativity of the new math. But on her desk was a secret weapon: a stack of worksheets -- the antithesis of constructivist math -- pages of classic problems in long division, the addition of fractions and reducing the sum of fractions to its simplest terms.
Of course, if pupils fed fuzzy stuff test well on real math tests, credit will be given to the fuzzies.