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Re: What makes a topic important?
Posted:
Apr 27, 2001 9:15 AM


There is another problem with this particular `sacred cow'. When I deemphasize the quadratic formula and use completing the square or even showing how to derive a continued fraction for one of the solutions students rebel. They expect to see and use the quadratic formula. HOw much of what we teach is determined not only by tradition, but by student expectations that are rooted in their high school experience?
>>> <LnMcmullin@AOL.COM>  4/26/01 12:29 PM >>>
That is the difference isn't it? Science and engineering vs. Math. The most sacred of all Cows may be the Quadratic Formula. To a mathematician it is beautiful and an object of admiration in many ways and, I might add, for good reason. To anyone else it's a way to get the solution to a quadratic equation; one of several and certainly these days probably the most difficult to use. In fact given a choice no one would use it. So what do we do with it, curriculum wise?
Lin McMullin Niantic, CT.

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