On Tue, 21 Nov 1995 Lutemann@aol.com wrote: > > Mike, you should read what I wrote. I think that you should give students > problems that are at an advantageous level of difficulty. The real world > aspect is irrelevant. > > Kent > Kent, I DID read what you wrote. I'm simply asking you to reconsider your position. My point was perhaps made too indirectly, so let me be blunt: knowing that students have very definite interests (sports, sex, music, etc.), I would urge people posing mathematics problems to take those interests into consideration. I get the sense that some folks are viewing this as an either-or situation: either good mathematics or 'irrelevant' fun. Why not good mathematics grounded in fun, regardless of relevance? How different is a problem about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle rate-of-pizza-consumption, and a typical textbook combined rate work problem? Mathematically, not at all. But pedagogically, the former just might hook a couple of kids who wouldn't otherwise take a serious crack at the problem. This is a glib, off-the-top-of-my-head example, but the point should be clear: the only thing preventing us from writing more engaging problems is our own stuffiness and a misplaced sense of "no pain, no gain." And perhaps it is precisely the clash between that philosophy of life and one which believes that ANYTHING, no matter how mundane, can benefit from some imagination, that is REALLY what much of the debate about mathematics educational reform is about.