As a middle-school math teacher, I have seen many students who do understand abstract concepts, and even enjoy learning about things like Pi and the Pythagorean Theorem, but who appear to be unable to do so due to a weak grasp of math fundamentals.
Ratios and proportions are likewise wonderful math lessons with plenty of interesting practical applications. If three pans of pizza, one kilo of spaghetti, two buckets of chicken can properly feed 20 hungry friends, then how much pizza, spaghetti and chicken does mom need to prepare for birthday party with 30 kids?
When I was growing up we didn't have home computers let alone PlayStation to entertain ourselves. Handheld camcorders were barely coming to the retail market by the time I was in 8th grade, but still a long ways away from the YouTube and Facebook arena we now see today. Times were extremely different back then and so was school.
Subtract 1- or 2-digit number from a 2-digit number with/without renaming