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Topic: alg/geo to calculus
Replies: 5   Last Post: Feb 22, 1995 1:33 AM

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Annie Fetter

Posts: 524
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: alg/geo to calculus
Posted: Feb 21, 1995 10:53 AM
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>Let me be perfectly clear -- there *is* a place for calculus in the high
>school curriculum, for those students for whom it is naturally appropriate
>-- in a large school, surely enough for one or three classes. But not for
>*most* college bound students. The goal isn't to stop teaching calculus in
>high school, but to have more options, I might add for *all* students.

So what does the Standards say about this? Is there a value for actually
_knowing_ calculus when you get out of high school? Or is it better to
know other things, like discrete math? Or should we be taking longer on
concepts and in-depth study so that there's no time to do calculus anyway?
And how is your school addressing what the Standards say?

As an irrelevant datapoint in the discussion, I took calculus in high
school, but didn't double-up on anything - my eighth grade math teacher
gave me the book the first day of class and told me to go home, look at it,
and tell her what I didn't know. Since I knew everything in the book (it
was pretty much the same as the seventh grade book), I skipped up to the
algebra I class. So I was just a year ahead the rest of the way (and ended
up being the only person in the calculus class).

However, when I got to college (a rather prestigious small liberal arts
college), and was interested in being a math major, I took calculus over
again, with hopes of actually understanding it. While there are no doubt
students who really learn calculus in high school, I wasn't one of them - I
knew enough of the stuff that I didn't work too hard for an A first
semester in college, but I did learn the concepts (and did continue toward
a math degree).

Four years later my high school started offering algebra I in eighth grade.
Made sense to me, since the eighth grade math really was just a repeat of
the seventh grade stuff. Very odd.


Annie Fetter | The Geometry Forum | Voice: 610 328-8225
Project Coordinator | Swarthmore College | 800 756-7823 | Swarthmore PA 19081 | Fax: 610 328-7824

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