> 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.