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While we're on the subject of math education...(11 posts)

While we're on the subject of math education...Matno
Jul 8, 2003 2:04 PM
Math Through the Decades

Teaching Math in 1950: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Math in 1960: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

Teaching Math in 1970: A logger exchanges a set "L" of lumber for a Set "M" of money. The cardinality of set "M" is 100. Each element is worth one dollar. Make 100 dots representing the elements of the set "M." The set C", the cost of production contains 20 fewer points than set "M." Represent the set "C" as a subset of set "M" and answer the following question: What is the cardinality of the set "P" of profits?

Teaching Math in 1980: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

Teaching Math in 1990: By cutting down beautiful forest trees, the Logger makes $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down the trees? There are no wrong answers.

Teaching Math in 2000: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $120. How does Arthur Andersen determine that his profit margin is $60

Teaching Math in 2010: El hachero vende un camion carga por $100. La cuesta de production es.............
politics and mathDougSloan
Jul 8, 2003 2:10 PM
Isn't the message "why do we need to interject politics in basic education?" Why can't we just teach fundamentals without an overlay of temporal political correctness? If you want to do that in sociology or civics class, then fine.

why not have robots teach our kids then?ColnagoFE
Jul 9, 2003 8:39 AM
I'm not sure it's possible for a teacher of, let's say, history to teach the subject with no bias. Math maybe, but History, Science...gonna be tougher. Personal biseses are gonna come through--some not all that desirable. I had a science teacher in the 80s who advised all women in our class not to date black men when they got to college because they will be stigmatized and never get again be able to date white men. He also said blacks had a bone structure that allowed them to jump higher. He got away with it because this was a small midwestern town...basically no minorities of any kind. Maybe the best strategy would be to teach kids critical thinking skills and logic at a young age so they can separate the BS from the gold at a young age. Seems that creative expression and critical thinking are sadly lacking in favor of standardized tests that create students who are good at taking tests, but not at thinking for themselves.
not my pointDougSloan
Jul 9, 2003 8:46 AM
I wasn't addressing personal bias, which no doubt there will be. I'm talking about institutional, planned, strategic curriculum mandates with the designed in PC'ness of the day. Math is probably the best example of where it's inappropriate, then the sciences. History would be a little tougher to neutralize.

agree...public school curriculum is not the place for PCColnagoFE
Jul 9, 2003 8:58 AM
Science is always gonna be tough because some right wingers refuse to disallow creationism from being mentioned as a possibility in science class.
I think it goes beyond politics.Spoke Wrench
Jul 10, 2003 8:09 AM
For a junior high math teacher to maximize their earnings they have to get a masters degree so off they go to learn about theoretical mathmatics. I have difficulty seeing how that buys us anything. Junior high kids don't need to know about set theory, junior high kids need to know how to multiply and divide and understand fractions and decimals.

Some teachers are obviously more successful in getting necessary concepts across to their students. Our junior high teacher should be getting a masters degree in whatever teaching methods have been proven to be successful.
Jul 10, 2003 6:36 PM
Unfortunately, it seems that teachers these days are more focused on learning practical skills, like self defense! Which brings us back to the whole concept of parental responsibility...
Good post.53T
Jul 9, 2003 9:07 AM
Very funny, I remember sets. Of course the only reason I'm able to earn a living is because I remember all math, even en metros y centimetros.

Clearly you can teach math without bias. I learned stocastic processes from a Christian Brother, and he never injected his beliefs in to the class. Except maybe if you didn't pay attention you would be meeting God sooner than you think.

On the other hand, history is always taught with a bias. The textbooks are biased, the textbooks that the teacher's learned from were biased. There is no escaping bias in interpreting history.

This makes history a great area for developing critical thinking. There is no more exiting thesis than one that disproves a long standing belief published by a prior researcher.

I think an excellent civics class (if we ever taught civics again) would be to let the teacher teach the Bill of Rights for a week, then I could go in and teach the same thing for a week. The class could spend the rest of the semester researching primary sources and formulating arguments about who's lessons were correct. The best lesson would be that correctness in history is not black and white.
creative thinking lackingColnagoFE
Jul 9, 2003 9:56 AM
I think the whole creative thinking element is missing from public education these days. Controversy is seen as something to be avoided. Politicians talk in soundbites and rarely debate the real issues other than superfically along party lines and schools are turning out students who barely know how to string a coherent sentence together.
Jul 9, 2003 11:38 AM
I think the soundbite phenomenon is more a result of the way the media and advertising works than lack of education. It's hard to say much in a 30 second tv spot.

I must wonder, though, why do British politicians always sound so much more articulate?

the accent I think (nm)ColnagoFE
Jul 9, 2003 1:04 PM