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Re: Safety Glasses in Algebra?
Posted:
Nov 15, 2012 4:11 PM


Robert Hansen wrote:
http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=7923725
> http://www2.wnct.com/news/2012/nov/14/3/lenoircountyschoolusesinteractivelablearnalar2780878/
> "One glance at her safety glasses, and one might think > 7th grader AnneWesley Taylor is busy in science class. > But this lesson on water quality is actually a new, > interactive way to understand a sometimes confusing > subject: Algebra."
I haven't listened to the video and don't really have a comment about the teaching method (getting students engaged is good, assuming it's in a way that leads to appropriate learning), but I did want to complain about something I see way too often (and have complained about before), which is the tendency of advocates of "the latest new thing" to misrepresent the past. The first sentence of the article follows:
** When many of us were in school, math class was about ** word problems and memorization.
Since when was math class about memorization? Math has always involved the least amount of memorization of any subject I can think of, with the possible exception of P.E. classes. And, now that I think about it, I took a number of multiple choice tests on volleyball rules and other sports rules in my high school P.E. class, tests whose preparation for involved nothing but memorization.
As someone who always had great difficulty with memorization (I had to transfer to another undergraduate university due to Foreign language requirements, I got a 60 (under 70 was an F) on my 3rd quarter 9th grade English report card because I was making 30s to 50s on the spelling tests our class began taking that quarter, I almost failed a supposedly easy classics elective because I couldn't remember the various the painting and sculpture and architecture styles we needed to distinguish on tests, etc.), I'm EXTREMELY AWARE of the amount of memorization in various subjects. Sure, I often forgot things in math too (e.g. is the derivative of u/v equal to (u'v  uv')/v^2 or (uv'  u'v)/v^2), but almost always you can "see the complete picture" by filling in the missing parts by using some alternate method. For example, in the case of the quotient rule, see which of the two possibilities work for the case of u/v = 1/x (whose result you know by using the power rule).
Dave L. Renfro



