**New Math**

This song is by **Tom Lehrer** and appears on the album *That Was The Year That Was (1965)* and on the 3 disc box-set *The Remains of Tom Lehrer (2000)*.

Some of you who have small children may have perhaps been

Put in the embarrassing position of being unable to do your

Child's arithmetic homework because of the current revolution

In mathematics teaching known as the New Math. So as a public

Service here tonight, I thought I would offer a brief lesson

In the New Math. Tonight, we're gonna cover subtraction.

This is the first room I've worked for a while that didn't have

A blackboard, so we will have to make do with more primitive

Visual aids, as they say in the ed biz. Consider the following

Subtraction problem, which I will put up here:

342 minus 173.

Now, remember how we used to do that: But in the new approach,

As you know, the important thing is to understand what you're doing,

Rather than to get the right answer. Here's how they do it now:

**Spoken introduction:**Some of you who have small children may have perhaps been

Put in the embarrassing position of being unable to do your

Child's arithmetic homework because of the current revolution

In mathematics teaching known as the New Math. So as a public

Service here tonight, I thought I would offer a brief lesson

In the New Math. Tonight, we're gonna cover subtraction.

This is the first room I've worked for a while that didn't have

A blackboard, so we will have to make do with more primitive

Visual aids, as they say in the ed biz. Consider the following

Subtraction problem, which I will put up here:

342 minus 173.

Now, remember how we used to do that: But in the new approach,

As you know, the important thing is to understand what you're doing,

Rather than to get the right answer. Here's how they do it now:

You can't take three from two,

Two is less than three

So you look at the four in the tens place

Now that's really four tens

So you make it three tens

Regroup, and you change a ten to ten ones

And you add 'em to the two and get twelve

And you take away three, that's nine

Is that clear?

Now instead of four in the tens place

You've got three

'Cause you added one

That is to say, ten, to the two

But you can't take seven from three

So you look in the hundreds place

From the three you then use one

To make ten ones ...

(And you know why four plus minus one

Plus ten is fourteen minus one?

'Cause addition is commutative, right!) ...

And so you've got thirteen tens

And you take away seven

And that leaves five ...

Well, six actually ...

But the idea is the important thing!

Now go back to the hundreds place

You're left with two

And you take away one from two

And that leaves ...?

Everybody get one?

Not bad for the first day!

Hooray for New Math

New-hoo-hoo Math

It won't do you a bit of good to review Math

It's so simple

So very simple

That only a child can do it!

*Now, that actually is not the answer that I had in mind, because the*

Book that I got this problem out of wants you to do it in base

Eight. But don't panic! Base eight is just like base ten really -

If you're missing two fingers! Shall we have a go at it?

Hang on ...

Book that I got this problem out of wants you to do it in base

Eight. But don't panic! Base eight is just like base ten really -

If you're missing two fingers! Shall we have a go at it?

Hang on ...

You can't take three from two

Two is less than three

So you look at the four in the eights place

Now that's really four eights

So you make it three eights

Regroup, and you change an eight to eight ones

And you add 'em to the two

And you get one-two base eight

Which is ten base ten

And you take away three, that's seven

Ok?

Now instead of four in the eights place

You've got three

'Cause you added one

That is to say, eight, to the two

But you can't take seven from three

So you look at the sixty-fours ...

*Sixty-four? "How did sixty-four get into it?" I hear you cry!*

Well, sixty-four is eight squared, don't you see? (Well, ya ask a

Silly question, ya get a silly answer!)

Well, sixty-four is eight squared, don't you see? (Well, ya ask a

Silly question, ya get a silly answer!)

From the three, you then use one

To make eight ones

You add those ones to the three

And you get one-three base eight

Or, in other words

In base ten you have eleven,

And you take away seven

And seven from eleven is four!

Now go back to the sixty-fours

You're left with two

And you take away one from two

And that leaves ...?

*Now, let's not always see the same hands!*

One, that's right.

Whoever got one can stay after the show and clean the erasers.

One, that's right.

Whoever got one can stay after the show and clean the erasers.

Hooray for New Math

New-hoo-hoo Math!

It won't do you a bit of good to review Math

It's so simple

So very simple

That only a child can do it!

*Come back tomorrow night..., we're gonna do fractions!*

Y'know, I've often thought I'd like to write a mathematics

Textbook someday because I have a title that I know will

Sell a million copies; I'm gonna call itTropic of Calculus.

Y'know, I've often thought I'd like to write a mathematics

Textbook someday because I have a title that I know will

Sell a million copies; I'm gonna call it

## Credits

**Written by:**

Tom Lehrer

Lyrics licensed by LyricFind

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