I think every successful classroom regime to which I've been a witness, including my own (I was a math teacher too once, in the clock punching sense) included "enticements".
By "enticements" I mean some break in the routine in order to sample what is to come, to partake of the promise. We stay within the knowledge domain, but we break free from the textbook.
Now I can hear some in the MC crowd jumping up and down. Given their low opinion of teachers, or home- schooling parents, they think any break away from Saxon or Singapore could only be into time-wasting activities.
But hey, some teachers have lots of real world experience, of math being applied. So maybe *that* is the subject of conversation: supermarket math.
Like today is Valentine's Day, with that same greasy feel of all commercialized emotion -- mass production meets intimate relationships. Feels like The Borg (Star Trek allusion). So in that spirit, I offer this little math cartoon from 1946: Easy Does It.**
Give your students a break from dreary slogging, and take a look at how grocery stores work. There's this thing called the bottom line, cash register income minus expenses, including loans to this bank, where evil Mr. Squeeze is going to demand your first born, unless you want to be penniless (which is where Easy comes in -- but I won't spoil it for ya).
Then there's margin per can, which could make all the difference to your bottom line (and your daughter's) - -- but only if you get that *volume* is what counts, not a greed-bearing fat markup. Let a quality brand work *for* you, accept the lower rate of return per item, yet beef up on per annum revenues that take you over the top.
Or if you don't want Supermarket Math, read Flatland by Abbott, and do some literary criticism. Like in my curriculum, we sort of ridicule it, for all the superstitious science fiction that grew up around the so-called "hyperdimensional" meme. A whole generation of pulp fiction and comic books depended on that one. Yet so few people have any clue what it means -- think you need freaky Johnny Neutron abilities to use the jargon, the shoptalk, whereas for real it's no deeper than what goes on in a supermarket.
Which is another interesting topic: mathematics and/or high technology and popular culture. Remember when little short haired boys all wanted to "go to MIT and be a nuclear physicist". Very unglamorous, that career path today (not that MIT isn't cool, but because of OLPC and Pythonic Robotics -- with the women seriously better than men in many of our movies).
Anyway, that's what I'm talking about under the heading of "enticements" -- ways to make math more meaningful, by weaving it in to everyday experience. Or is that always "rainforest math" by definition? Isn't "check book math" a good thing though?
How to others weigh in? Are enticements a good thing, or are all of you as boring as Wayne here?