The Math Forum

Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Math Forum » Discussions » Education » math-teach

Notice: We are no longer accepting new posts, but the forums will continue to be readable.

Topic: Sexagesimal Numbers in Primary Grades
Replies: 14   Last Post: Jan 5, 2010 7:10 PM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
kirby urner

Posts: 3,690
Registered: 11/29/05
Fwd: Sexagesimal Numbers in Primary Grades
Posted: Jan 3, 2010 3:16 AM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

On Fri, Jan 1, 2010 at 9:41 PM, Michael Paul Goldenberg
<> wrote:
> Hmm. Underestimating the ability of American students to learn binary and
> base 16 math as part of getting a sound grasp of base 10 math is just like
> you, I'm afraid. Your belief that YOU know what is and must and should be
> "standard fare" for all is simply hubris of the worst kind.

<< SNIP >>

Hey Michael, here's a blog post you might enjoy, as it's about an
obviously enthusiastic and effective math teacher using Saxon, but
finding students are bored with all the repetition:

He supplements by sharing math puzzles and challenges over the web,
and finds this galvanizes his students to new levels, counters their

Anna Roys was just expressing frustration with repetitiveness as well
- -- not with reference to Saxon in particular, but with reference to
math pedagogy in general.

Let's remember the one-room-schoolhouse origins of some of our
pedagogy: an agrarian context with a need to work in the fields in the
summer, so no time for school work for months at a time!

That long summer break was a chance to forget a lot of what one
learned in the previous year, and grade school math textbooks have had
to accommodate this rhythm, which still exists (year-round calendars,
with the same total number of school days, are a rarity -- LEP High,
one of our newer public school charters, uses such a calendar).

There was no Internet back then and, left to their own devices,
students had fewer ways to keep their skills polished.  Library books
and summer reading programs helped the more studious keep in shape,
but when peer pressure slacks off, only the most self-directed will
dive into isolated studies.

Plus there's that tractor to drive, those chickens to feed (not
knocking the lifestyle).

Fast forward to 2010 and we have a rather different set of circumstances.

Take hexadecimals for example:  You'll find a large selection of
direct instruction videos on Youtube, many of them quite clear, some
of them student produced.

Here's a slow-paced example accessible to a younger audience:  (binary numbering, musical)

Here are examples of kids talking to the home webcam, a popular genre
(slow paced, non-threatening, peer-to-peer):  (hex) (binary)

Plus you have plenty of adults in teaching mode doing a fine job of
imparting the information (just go to Youtube and search on
"hexadecimal" -- or any math topic that interests you, see what you

Given the nature of archived video clips, students can watch as many
times (or as few) as they need, go back and replay unclear parts, even
communicate with the author (asynchronously) if so desiring.

Putting this all together:  you have creative teachers seeking to add
life to mathematics, bring it into a contemporary context.

A lot of them turn to the Web.  This is where Maria's Math 2.0 and
Naturalmath blogs would fit, providing guidance for teachers wishing
to explore in this direction.

I'd say this is the biggest "growth area" in math teaching today, and
has little to do with mass-published textbooks.

Haim is always challenging us with his proposition that there are no
new pedagogical issues to consider, as the Socratic Method is all we
need and all we ever will need.

The fact remains that some curricula encourage students to explore
Youtube for direct instruction and encourage them to upload new
content for grading, for credit (the school has the facilities even if
the home does not).

In some classrooms, students project their own work for criticism and feedback.

Other curricula make no assumptions about the Internet, assume it
might as well not exist.

Given this cultural shift, I'm thinking any "Saxon versus EM" battle
royal is going to come off as "Dino versus Dino", will be of somewhat
ho hum appeal.  On the other hand, likely both companies are likely
moving to on-line versions of their curricula behind the scenes.
Perhaps some on this list are technical reviewers for those offerings?
 I'd be interested in the Saxon vs. EM Youtubes.

Here we go (Saxon-related stuff):

EM-related stuff (response to anti-EM "Inconvenient truth"):

Anti-EM, pro "Standard Algorithms":

Should we all move to Youtube with these math-teach debates?
Seriously, I think that might be more effective (I'm already out there
doing it, invite others to join me).


- --
>>> from mars import math

------- End of Forwarded Message

Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2018. All Rights Reserved.