K-8 students will "manipulate shapes, animals and algebraic formulas to build foundational understanding of math" on a new math platform called Struggly, writes Marianna McMurdock on The 74. The program, co-produced by Stanford's Jo Boaler, offers no instruction. Students are "in the driver's seat," says co-founder Tanya LaMar. Students are supposed to learn from their mistakes.

It's designed for students with language barrier, learning disabilities or perhaps just a dislike for math.

Only one in four 8th-graders is "proficient" in math, notes McMurdock. The numbers are lower -- 9 to 14 percent -- for Black, Native and Latino children.

Game-like tasks, which become more challenging as students go on, can be solved in different ways, she writes. That encourages "learners to talk to each other about their strategies and challenge common misconceptions that math is more about memorization than reason or logic."

"Teachers have also noticed fewer outbursts and negative self talk, more confidence and less math anxiety," writes McMurdock.

One district survey revealed students were more likely to agree with statements like, “if I work really hard, I can become very good at math” and to disagree with “people can’t change how good they are at math.”

Gregg Bonti, who teaches math to 4th- and 5th-graders with language-based learning disabilities in Brooklyn, says his students are more willing to persevere with Struggly.

At a high-poverty, mostly Hispanic school in California, Jennifer Fields says her 3rd-graders like Struggly. "It’s helped them grasp onto geometry concepts like manipulation and transformation easier than in traditional workbooks,' and they’re learning how to discuss math concepts.

“It’s just refreshing to have something for the kids to do where they can untether from the teacher more,” says Shelly Anderson, a 4th-grade teacher in Salt Lake City. “They can start to get some of their own confidence and build their identity as math learners rather than just thinking, ‘well, either I have a math brain or I don’t.’ Everybody has the ability to seek out patterns, look at problems and look at logic.”

I share Holly Korbey's concerns about encouraging teachers " to look to how children *feel *about math to tell them how they're doing instead of how they perform on math tasks." As she writes on The Bell Ringer, "liking math is great, but it’s not exactly the goal."

Balanced literacy claimed that children would "snuggle up with a great book and fall in love with reading" without being taught how to decode, Korbey notes. That "didn't turn out so well for young readers."

South Korean students rank near the top of the world in math performance, and near the bottom in __confidence in their math skills__. U.S. math students are __high in confidence__, mediocre in in performance.

Without a solid mastery of the basics of math, one will never be able to progress to master the concepts of algebra one, and in my day, basics required endless math drills until the teacher thought you were proficient (we were doing math drills through 7th grade in my day)

I once found a turnkey kit of "manipulatives" that, via instruction about the "rules of the game", was supposed to teach students to solve 2-step algebraic equations of the type 2x-5=30. It was very logical, and it seemed to me like this might actually be helpful to students. I was very enthusiastic about using this kit with Algebra 1 students.

Kids liked it. I liked it. It was "fun". After 2 years of use the final result was that students did no better solving those equations than previous classes, which hadn't used the manipulatives, did. It was disappointing to me, but evidence is evidence. Kids seem to have a hard time translating the "game" into actual math--they can pla…

"Struggly" sounds like a combination of Struggle and Ugly, or ugly struggle... not a very well thought out name.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but no one used to care how you

feltabout math. You just had todothe math. All of my fellow students could do math, at least up through 6th grade or so. I knew this becuase we all had to go stand at the board and do the problems, right there in front of God and everybody. Maybe this was hard on our poor little feelings, but the pressure of public performance sure seemed to work. This stems from the fact that every normal (even somewhat slow) human being can …