This document explains some common questions and answers concerning the common core alignment of Math Mammoth Light Blue series (the complete curriculum), and the changes between the new (revised) and old versions.
1. Which Math Mammoth materials are aligned to the CCS, and which are not?
2. What are the differences between the old version and the new aligned version?
3a. What are the differences between the old and the new version in grade 1?
3b. What are the differences between the old and the new version in grade 2?
3c. What are the differences between the old and the new version in grade 3?
3d. What are the differences between the old and the new version in grade 4?
3e. What are the differences between the old and the new version in grade 5?
3f. What are the differences between the old and the new version in grade 6?
4. Is one more advanced (introducing concepts earlier) than the other?
5. Why have you aligned Math Mammoth to the Common Core?
6. What is your position on the Common Core Standards?
7. Does it "dumb down" the books?
8. Can I continue from non-aligned version grade X to aligned version grade X+1?
9. Can I purchase the old, non-aligned versions?
1. Which Math Mammoth materials are aligned to the CCS, and which are not?
Math Mammoth Light Blue series (the complete curriculum for grades 1-7(a)) meets and exceeds the CCS. In several grade levels (grade 3, 5, 6, and 7), the alignment is only 90-95%, because some topics are included that exceed or are not mentioned in the CCS.
Keep in mind this has not been just an alignment but also a revision process. I just cannot look at my old work without finding ways to make it better. So, there have also been improvements in the layout, images, presentation of topics, more word problems, and other changes - independent of the Common Core Standards.
The old version of the Light Blue series is not aligned, and it is available as a download of all 6 grades here.
The Blue Series, Green Series, and Golden Series books are not aligned to the Common Core. The Golden Series books are aligned to the Virginia Standards. Make It Real Learning workbooks are not aligned.
Also, the units I sell at my Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers' Notebook are aligned to the CCS.
2. What are the differences between the old version and the new aligned version?
For Math Mammoth Light Blue Series, the alignment has involved moving some topics up a grade level, a few topics down a grade level, adding a few topics, and revising the presentation of some. I haven't actually removed any topics from the curriculum because of this.
In some grade levels, I have left topics in the curriculum that are beyond the CCS, such as some easy conversions between measuring units in grade 3 or many statistics topics in grade 5. Grade 6 will have a review of decimal arithmetic (not mentioned in the CCS). Grade 7 will have the Pythagorean Theorem (in grade 8 in the CCS).
Also, CCS are not all-comprehensive. They are silent about some "lesser" topics such as line graphs, Roman numerals, or learning about parts of the circle. I haven't dropped such topics from Math Mammoth if they were there already. In some topics, CCS are very vague. For example, for one particular grade they say "students work with time and money". Obviously time (clock/calendar) and money are still included in Math Mammoth, just as they were before.
3a. What are the differences between the old and the new version in grade 1?
Please note: some of the changes listed below were not done because of the Common Core Standards, but because of a general revising process.
See also: Math Mammoth Common Core alignment, Grade 1 - a list of lessons and the corresponding Common Core Standards in Math Mammoth grade 1 (a PDF file)
3b. What are the differences between the old and the new version in grade 2?
Please note: some of the changes listed below were not done because of the Common Core Standards, but because of a general revising process.
See also: Math Mammoth Common Core alignment, Grade 2 - a list of lessons and the corresponding Common Core Standards in Math Mammoth grade 2 (a PDF file)
3c. What are the differences between the old and the new version in grade 3?
Please note: some of the changes listed below were not done because of the Common Core Standards, but because of a general revising process.
What is the same?
What is different?
See also: Math Mammoth Common Core alignment, Grade 3 - a list of lessons and the corresponding Common Core Standards in Math Mammoth grade 3 (a PDF file)
3d. What are the differences between the old and the new version in grade 4?
Please note: some of the changes listed below were not done because of the Common Core Standards, but because of a general revising process.
The main changes in the revised edition of Grade 4 are that some topics were taken off and moved to 5th grade, and several topics were added in. Other than that, the basic framework and conceptual development did not change substantially. Of course, I edited the lessons to make them better, added more space or grids for calculations, etc. so there were many cosmetic changes.
Topics moving to 5th grade:
Topics added that weren't in 4th grade before:
See also: Math Mammoth Common Core alignment, Grade 4 - a list of lessons and the corresponding Common Core Standards in Math Mammoth grade 4 (a PDF file)
3e. What are the differences between the old and the new version in grade 5?
Please note: some of the changes listed below were not done because of the Common Core Standards, but because of a general revising process.
The biggest changes in grade 5 are that the two optional chapters (percent and integers) have been removed, and the topics in geometry chapter are different. However, overall, the structure and contents of this grade is very similar to the old. Grade 5 in Math Mammoth slightly exceeds the Common Core Standards.
Chapter 7 is fraction multiplication and division. It is similar to the earlier version, but has some changes as well. The lesson Fraction Multiplication and Area is expanded to include problems where the student extends the sides of the given rectangle to get a square unit, and then write a multiplication for the area of the original rectangle. There are two new lesson Multiplication as Scaling/Resizing and Fractions are Divisions. Line plots are included in several of the lessons.
Division of fractions is only dealt in these special cases: sharing divisions (such as (4/6) ÷ 2), dividing unit fractions by whole numbers (for example (1/5) ÷ 3) and dividing whole numbers by unit fractions (such as 5 ÷ (1/3)). These types of divisions can be solved with mental reasoning, without using the "rule." The rest is left for 6th grade.
See also: Math Mammoth Common Core alignment, Grade 5 - a list of lessons and the corresponding Common Core Standards in Math Mammoth grade 5 (a PDF file)
3f. What are the differences between the old and the new version in grade 6?
In grade 6, there are several substantial changes. In Part A, the first chapter (review of the four operations) is similar to the old, but the rest of 6th grade has lots of changes.
Part A now has more coverage of algebraic concepts (evaluating and simplifying expressions, solving equations, inequalities) than before (chapter 2). The chapter on decimal arithmetic is fairly similar to the old version (chapter 3), but the topics of scientific notation and repeated decimals are moved to 7th. There is now more emphasis on ratios and rates (chapter 4). Percent lessons (chapter 5) are pretty much the same as before, but the topics of interest and percent of change are moved to 7th grade.
In part B, chapter 6 is about number theory, and is similar to the old version, but has a more detailed coverage of the greatest common factor and the least common multiple. In fractions (chapter 7), there is less review of old topics, and more emphasis on divison of fractions and lessons on problem solving. Integers chapter is similar (chapter 8), but will omit multiplication and division of integers. Geometry topics (chapter 9) are changing nearly completely and will now emphasize area of polygons and surface area & nets.
Chapter 10 is statistics. It contains many of the same lessons and problems as the old, but has some new emphases, such as: students find the shape of distribution and determine which measure of center and measure of variability is the best to use based on the distribution. The topic of probability is moved to 7th.
Topics added to 6th grade:
Topics moving to 7th grade that used to be in 6th in the old version:
See also: Math Mammoth Common Core alignment, Grade 6 - a list of lessons and the corresponding Common Core Standards in Math Mammoth grade 6 (a PDF file)
4. Is one more advanced (introducing concepts earlier) than the other?
For grades 5-6, the old version is more advanced and the CCS aligned version will be less so. However, the old version of MM 6 has been almost "too advanced" as it had many pre-algebra concepts in it. I will be writing a true pre-algebra program (MM7) and move many things from current MM6 to it.
I cannot exactly say one is more advanced than the other for grades 1-4. Some topics moved up a grade (two-digit divisor in long division, even/odd, rounding), but some moved down a grade (perimeter/area of rectangles in depth, factoring). Most topics didn't actually move, because Math Mammoth fit the common core standards in many aspects already, before this revision process. Maybe overall the new, revised version is a tad easier since there have been more concepts that moved up a grade than those that moved down.
5. Why have you aligned Math Mammoth to the Common Core?
I became aware of these standards maybe in 2009 or 2010, but didn't pay any mind to them until late 2011, when I noticed that practically all states had decided to adopt them. So, I took a closer look then. I noticed the standards didn't look bad, AND that Math Mammoth (Light Blue Series) actually was "aligned" in many aspects already, especially in grades 1-5.
Now that I've studied them in detail, I have found a few that are "out of place", but for the most part, I feel the standards are a VAST improvement over most of the states math standards, many of which were really long "laundry lists" that have caused the typical math curricula to be "inch deep and mile long".
I have always felt the long lists of standards was the wrong way to go, as it causes teachers and curricula to teach many, many multitudes of topics with shallowness. The CCS have fewer standards per grade, allowing more focus on certain topics and themes, thus hopefully allowing for true mastery, instead of teachers hurrying through the topics and passing kids to the next grade without them mastering the math.
Also, the common core standards for math are quite similar to how I think math should be taught (and how the old version of MM was written): they emphasize conceptual development a lot, and include the standards algorithms and fact mastery. Like I said, Math Mammoth was already "aligned" in many major aspects to the CCS.
Now, in 2013-2014 there has risen a lot of controversy about the CCS and some states have decided to not to adopt them, for example because of difficulty/cost of implementation and other reasons—and I can understand those! However, I did not know or foresee any of that in 2011 when I saw the map of nearly all states having adopted them. To me, they are just another set of standards, just like the various state standards used to be, with the difference that this time it was possible for me to align the curriculum.
Some have asked me to "revert" back to the old version because of the controversies. However, I also REVISED the curriculum at the same time and spent a LOT of time with various improvements, so I cannot easily just go back to the old. I don't want to "lose" the improvements made in the revising process.
I COULD, technically speaking, say, swap the topic of even numbers back to first grade, and then say "It is not aligned," but to me, that would be silly! Already, grades 3 and 5 are NOT perfectly aligned to the CCS (exceeding the CCS), and grades 6 and 7 will not be. In essence, overall Math Mammoth is maybe 95% aligned to the CCS.
The alignment is definitely good enough that those homeschooling parents who are planning to put their child back to public school in a certain grade and those who need to take yearly tests based on the CCS can be assured that their child has studied the necessary topics. Hopefully I am able to help the homeschooling community in that respect.
6. What is your position on the Common Core Standards?
The answer to this question is here.
7. Does it "dumb down" the books?
I cannot feel so at all, because the Common Core Standards for mathematics emphasize conceptual understanding a lot, and like mentioned above, Math Mammoth already was "aligned" to them in many aspects. I have not made changes that would make the books "dumber"; I could never do that! Math Mammoth is still committed to delivering "conceptual math," the understanding of "why" math works, and lots of word problems, including challenging ones.
Now, some topics have moved up a grade, and some may feel that means the curriculum has gotten "dumbed" down because of that. I do not feel any of those moves are so critical as to make Math Mammoth a "dumb" program. Your child can still start pre-algebra in grade 7.
To give you examples of topics moving up a grade: rounding moved from grade 2 to grade 3, long division with a two-digit divisor and multiplying 3-digit nubers by 2-digit numbers moved from grade 4 to grade 5, and integers & percent moved from grade 5 (they had been optional in MM5 anyway) to grades 6 and 7.
And, some topics have moved down a grade: most notably, factoring and primes to grade 4, and area & perimeter to grade 3. Additionally, grade 6 now has lessons about some algebraic concepts (distributive property, simplifying expressions, inequalities, solving one-step, and some two-step equations). As it is, grade 5 exceeds the CCS somewhat (please see above), and the same will be true of grades 6 and 7.
Also, the presentation of topics has not changed towards "dumber" at all. I wouldn't want such, and I don't know if I could even accomplish such!
8. Can I continue from the non-aligned version in some grade to the aligned version in the next grade?
In general, yes, you can. However, please check the points above as to what was changed in any particular grade level. In some cases the student might need to study a topic before going on with the new, revised version. For example, a child going from old version grade 3 to the new version in grade 4 would need to study area & perimeter of rectangles in depth as it is now covered in grade 3. You can also email me for advice.
9. Can I purchase the old, non-aligned versions?
Yes. The bundle of all six grades (download) is available on this page (choose the Light BLue series, OLD VERSION). Old customers can request the old versions (email me), and I will arrange for them to download them.
However, since I have improved upon my older work in the revised versions, I don't feel the old versions are as good as the new.
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