On May 3, 2014, at 1:37 PM, Richard Strausz <Richard.Strausz@farmington.k12.mi.us> wrote:
> Now that I have a little time this afternoon, I thought I'd respond further. Check out response #28, duplicated below. I judge the teacher to be a high-powered instructor who finds value in this idea. > > Richard > - ------- > They have some more regular shaped bars available online as well. I would want to explore the rate of decay of the soap (more consistent with a regular shaped bar than a duck) compared to its size. Take regular measurements after a week of use, graph, fit appropriate trend and extrapolate to see how long until the money is reached. Could look at how it varies with the shape of the bar (ie duck vs a prism). Students would need to make several assumptions/simplifications which would need to be made to make the problem do-able. > I do a similar exercise with my year 11?s where we look at the rate of decay of a Jawbreaker/All Day Sucker, stating hypothesis(relationships between dimensions and rate of decay), measuring its dimensions every 2 minutes, graphing, fitting trend lines, using derivatives and graphs to test our hypothesis, stating assumptions and their effects. We also extrapolate our models to see how big an all day sucker would need to be to in fact last ?all day?.
Measuring and graphing? Mathematics is not busy work, nor is it procedure. Either you do not understand what mathematics is or you understand what it is but refuse to teach it. Which is it Richard? I am baffled that you find the busy work above ?high powered??
I stand by my analysis. What you are portraying here is a wholesale abandonment of the teaching of mathematics. I am more than aware of the challenge your students face but that doesn?t make this busy work mathematics just because, even if you have correctly surmised that they cannot or do not want to learn mathematics.
Hypothetically speaking, suppose I am a parent of one of your students and the student, who is allegedly taking or has taken algebra, brings this type of work home, what would be your reply to me when I approach you and point out the lack of mathematics in this exercise? What if I point out that the other algebra classes are doing actual algebra? What do you tell these parents? Does this ever come up? Some parents must be aware that this algebra is nothing like the other algebra. I am curious what you say to those parents.