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Topic: Perils of Modern Math Education
Replies: 19   Last Post: Jun 21, 2007 8:44 PM

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Dave L. Renfro

Posts: 4,792
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Perils of Modern Math Education
Posted: Jun 21, 2007 2:27 PM
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Dave L. Renfro wrote (in part):

http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=5781985

> Interesting. I think our teacher (algebra 1, 1973-74)
> showed a square root algorithm to us in class, but
> we didn't have to learn it. We just used the tables
> at the back of the book. Of course, the better
> students (top 5% of my graduating class) knew it,
> as this was one of those things that all the school
> nerds knew (along with the then 9 planets in order
> from the sun, the nearest star, the fact that U-235
> and not U-238 was used in atomic bombs, etc.).


This is probably not entirely accurate. My school's
nerds (the term is not a synonym for Kirby's "geeks")
didn't know the rule at all times. More accurate would
be to say that we all knew there was such a rule and,
at various times throughout my high school years,
one person or another would show it to the others
(having seen it in a school library book by accident,
having looked it up because a teacher mentioned
the existence of such a method in class, etc.).
I don't even remember how it goes now, and I'm sure
I was among those who told others about it in school.

Dave L. Renfro



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