It's called Common Core curriculum. The St. Joseph School District was one of the first in the state to implement it.
While students seem to be jumping on board, many parents are needing to be pulled along.
It's just not learning rules," said Cindy Shultz, a second grade teacher at Eugene Field elementary school. "It's using reasoning and understanding and structure to solve problems."
Staff at Field Elementary held a Math Night this week, inviting parents to come and learn more about Common Core math.
The parents found that the philosophy behind Common Core learning is more than just memorizing arithmetic tables. It is more visual and spacial.
"When you're learning something new, you might need some concrete things to put your hands on or to draw pictures," said Mya Treat, an instructional coach at the school.
"Instead of being given a problem and now solve this, it's more about let me think about it, let's make a mental picture in my mind and let's completely understand what I'm being asked so that I'm able to solve this problem," she said.
During the evening, students were showing their parents how to complete a number of different kind of mathematical problems. Some showed how simple addition works using a combination of big boxes, little boxes and lines.
"The big boxes represent 100, the little boxes are ones and the small boxes are tens." described one 2nd grader.
Some of the parents were a little confused
"The first time I saw it, it took a little bit for me to get it," said Curtis Howard, who was there with his son.
When asked if he saw the benefits of learning the new system, Howard said he could not.
Teachers assure some memorization is included, but they want the skills gained through learning and thinking through a problem to extend beyond math.
"It's the students taking responsibility and the teachers guiding them to take the responsibility to solve problems," Shultz said.
Currently 46 states have implemented Common Core to this point.
Several groups that have come out against the curriculum say education should not be mandated by the federal government and it should be state-based.
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