
Re: Teaching Set Theory to kids in Middle School: ideas?
Posted:
Apr 30, 2008 5:33 PM


Re: Greg Goodnight wrote: "I have, Kirby, and it is a random walk without much visible evidence of that 'brainstorming' you're claiming. How many of the brainstormers are true mathematicians and not computer scientists? Chemists? Physicists? The above who are receiving your kids into their first few classes at the university level?"
Anna writes: Brainstorming is going on in the education "trenches" all over our nation. However, it is not specifically recorded so there can be not empirical study could be done from any data, however, it is happening in my district and I would guess many others.
Here's another perspective to consider.I have a story from my personal life to illustrate it. As I have indicated previously, math is not my strength, so how could it possibly be that I entirely managed the K12 home education of my son who just completed Calculus I with an A at the University of Alaska? Well, here is my theory of how this occurred. My son's education is the result of team work and PBL (Problem Based Learning) projects including math  and the support of his family, tutors and most important his self directed learning tenacity. (Now my son can tutor me in math.) I tell this story to express my opinion, that students can excel in math by not only studying "pure mathematics" but also streaming it into other disciplines through projects.
Some one on this list asked me what projects, what lesson plans, etc. In my opinion the specifics of how this integration happens, would depend upon individual student interests and the educator linking learning to specific math standards. I am working on some middle school lesson plans in collaboration with other educators currently. I will supply some examples later. My approach is to start with grade level and standards, and then "brainstorm" to come up with creative ways to help students meet or exceed these standards. I pick standards from multiple disciplines and then work with others to come up with ideas to frame PBL projects.
To make it clear, I am in no way suggesting that we "waterdown" any math. Math classes need to be math classes and taught by those qualified. However, teachers of other disciplines can form teams including mathematicians and the result can be student projects and subsequent demonstrations of learning that indicate rigorous higher order thinking skills have been used. I have seen this student work  it is awesome.
Greg continues: "Instruction time is a zero sum game, and if "gnu math" is at the expense of math math, you'd better have a plan as to what math is being left behind, and be specific about it. A stakeholder outside of your small circle of friends might have something cogent to bring to the table."
I missed the post where Kirby suggested that we abandon any mathmath courses, what I thought I read was that what he is suggesting is supplementary  therefore I wholeheartedly support it!
Lets all try to meet at the table and through diplomacy and respect find ways to improve mathematics achievement in our nation.
Respectfully, Anna

