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Topic: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Replies: 67   Last Post: Jun 28, 2013 11:06 PM

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kirby urner

Posts: 1,635
Registered: 11/29/05
Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Posted: Jun 17, 2013 11:01 PM
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att1.html (6.4 K)

On Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 7:28 AM, Joe Niederberger
<niederberger@comcast.net>wrote:

> Everyone here should read it -
>
>
> http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/the-faulty-logic-of-the-math-wars/?hp
>
> Cheers,
> Joe N
>
>

I think the article over-simplifies quite a bit, in purporting to be about
K-12, but actually being more about K-4 or K-8. You can't stretch the
four arithemetic operations out for twelve years unless you've been
drinking lead (Pb) and maybe too much fluoride (there is an upper limit in
Fl good for you, plus in Portland we also care about fish and safe levels
in waters salmon will tolerate, nothing to do with humans eating them, just
where they'll willingly go with the flow).

http://www.chem4kids.com/files/elements/009_shells.html
http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistryfaqs/f/what-is-fluoride.htm

The key question is how to best spiral along various STEM threads to make a
smooth segue at each turn, and to make K-16 an enjoyable / enriching
experience in a highly fertile environment. Even those who choose to not
study much should reap more than they sew, thanks to synergy.

http://4dsolutions.net/presentations/p4t_notes.pdf (PDF mentioning
'spiraling')
(from a workshop for STEM teachers Hyatt/Regency O'Hare, Urner / Holden,
Pycon 2009)

If you really understand the addition algorithm, which the article
describes, learning to align by place value and carry to the left, then you
really understand what it means to add in base 5 or base 11.

That was the approach of SMSG / New Math: to teach the addition and
subtraction algorithms generally enough that a shift in bases, away from
base 10, would not throw students off. They would follow.

Tom Lehrer made fun of the parent reaction by singing through a subtraction
problem in nightclubs. The laughers on the soundtrack didn't really get
that the joke was on them, as junior really was getting it, and could
follow the base eight version just fine, or I know I could, and my
classmates were right there with me, and this was early grade school.

http://youtu.be/DfCJgC2zezw (has the base 8 part, which some weak of heart
tend to skip)

We were also doing Venn Diagrams a lot back then. Do people want to tell
me which "algorithms" they mean when we talk about union and intersection,
set difference? I don't think most non-STEM-informed imaginations extend
to the set object, nor the multidimensional array object when thinking of
algorithms (nor where algorithms come from: Algebra City).

That we in the STEM world embed sets in lists of lists and consider "data
structures" important came later than New Math, in terms of pedagogy. The
parents with their pitch forks had already buried that Sputnik-inspired
alien stuff. It felt too imposed and Americans fought back, claiming their
right to remain ignorant, to keep the clock from accelerating. Future shock
was for "developing" nations.

By the 1970s, a pretty interesting curriculum had been done away with, in the
rush to stay dumb. "New new math", as far as I can tell, is not worth my
time or interest. I went for "Gnu Math" instead, wherein we phase in the
open source languages especially (the most transparent). 'Mathematics for
the Digital Age and Programming in Python' is an offering there, where we
use it in 10th grade, or something like it.

I think the grandparents who "got" New Math when still available are more
likely to be investing in what I call "Gnu Math" today versus "New New
Math", a miasma of mediocrity promoted by an idiocracy (dumber than the
real Mafia).

In Gnu Math we want to *program* addition with fractions. We learn the
algorithm in such detail that we can tell *a programmable computer* how to
do it, which is also to tell ourselves in another way (another logic).

Having rational numbers on computer means facing that problem of finding
the greatest common denominator (GCD). You need to divide numerator and
denominator by that GCD to get lowest terms in an equivalence relation (1/2
== 2/4 == 4/8 ==... == p/q * 2/2). When does a computer know terms are
lowest? What's a good algorithm?

GCD(a, b) is of critical importance and the algorithm we so often use in
STEM world is named for Euclid, it's called Euclid's Method, and LCM = (a
* b) / GCD(a, b). In the dumb and dumber texts used by slobs in the
laziest of hoods, zip codes you'd like to not live in, they don't tell you
Euclid's Method even exists or what it is.

If you have this hole in your own knowledge, consider yourself shot through
the head by your own alma mater and seek medical / remedial attention
immediately. Not knowing Euclid's Algorithm means you should think twice
about voting or registering an opinion on any matter. Don't get up in the
morning. Get out your smartphone and learn it instead.

That's what the Math Wars are all about. Those without any knowledge of
Euclid's Method by the end of high school are the losers, and that goes for
any professors in the same boat. Lets help these poor vanquished back on
their feet again shall we? I urge empathy towards the world's least
privileged. Lets start a new charity if need be.

Kirby Urner

Proposer of:

NCLB Polynomial
NCLB Polyhedron


Date Subject Author
6/17/13
Read Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Joe Niederberger
6/17/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Robert Hansen
6/17/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Wayne Bishop
6/17/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Clyde Greeno @ MALEI
6/17/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Wayne Bishop
6/17/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Domenico Rosa
6/18/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
kirby urner
6/18/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy
6/18/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy
6/18/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
kirby urner
6/18/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times > K-calculus
Clyde Greeno
6/18/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Joe Niederberger
6/19/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Robert Hansen
6/19/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Robert Hansen
6/18/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy
6/19/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
kirby urner
6/19/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy
6/19/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy
6/19/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Dave L. Renfro
6/20/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Robert Hansen
6/20/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
kirby urner
6/20/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Robert Hansen
6/20/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
kirby urner
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Wayne Bishop
6/20/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy
6/20/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Richard Strausz
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Wayne Bishop
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
kirby urner
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
W. Stephen Wilson
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Robert Hansen
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Wayne Bishop
6/22/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
W. Stephen Wilson
6/20/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Joe Niederberger
6/20/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Robert Hansen
6/20/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Joe Niederberger
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Wayne Bishop
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Robert Hansen
6/20/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Joe Niederberger
6/20/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Joe Niederberger
6/20/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy
6/20/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Joe Niederberger
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Wayne Bishop
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
kirby urner
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Robert Hansen
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
kirby urner
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Joe Niederberger
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Robert Hansen
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Wayne Bishop
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Wayne Bishop
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
kirby urner
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Robert Hansen
6/22/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
kirby urner
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Joe Niederberger
6/22/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy
6/23/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
kirby urner
6/21/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy
6/24/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy
6/24/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Wayne Bishop
6/24/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy
6/24/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Wayne Bishop
6/25/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy
6/26/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
Wayne Bishop
6/26/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy
6/28/13
Read Re: Math Wars Philosophizing in the NY Times
GS Chandy

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