Date: Nov 12, 2012 1:12 PM
Author: kirby urner
Subject: Re: How teaching factors rather than multiplicand & multiplier<br> confuses kids!

Portland has a magnet schools system and schools are free to specialize.

Students close by zip code have automatic slots but families are free
to cross-apply and many do so i.e. Winterhaven PPS was outside of our
default district.

Winterhaven PPS allowed me to come in, as a parent and community geek,
to take the 8th grade for a multi-day spin. Here's a 2-page record of
what we covered.

Likewise I did an assembly for the whole 6th grade where I projected
slides about the kind of geometry I do and then they all cut out
A-modules and folded them up into lefts and rights. With 12 of each,
we made a bigger tetrahedron in the front of the room. We didn't
build any B-modules that time.

Of course not every 6th grader across this great land ever hears about
A- and B-modules, primitive tetrahedral building blocks that make a
wide variety of shapes. Such is not in the sequence -- not
everywhere. It is here though. At Winterhaven PPS. They also teach
how the Pythagorean Theorem doesn't need to be shown with squares i.e.
any similar figures, including triangles, will preserve that areal
identity. That was also taught at OMSI long ago (our science museum).

Every city has it's history. We have this private school called
Catlin Gabel. Some of the faculty were from Black Mountain College
which you may have heard of. Its hay day was post WW2, GI Bill days.
A lot of talented people came together. "Tensegrity" was born
(Snelson, who went on to become quite famous), and "Bucky" (the dome
guy) were famously collaborating back then, before the falling out
(Kenneth and I became friends).

Anyway, I'm just saying, we need to take advantage of these regional
distinctions, not suppress them in some "one size fits all" mold.

That's why individual schools are free to pioneer their own curricula.
Winterhaven PPS used something devised locally by our Math Learning
Center and Portland State University. Lots of visualizations. We
enrolled my daughter there in large part because of the strong STEM.
She's now strong in STEM (as well as being a state debate champion --
takes after her dad in some ways).