
RE: [mathlearn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Posted:
Mar 17, 2011 5:30 PM



Original Message I applaud the teacher for enforcing the importance of the details. A slight rounding error in an angle or a calculation can have devastating results. I wouldn't want a financial analyst or an engineer who was lax on the details. "The Devil is in the Details". >
Actually, a financial analyst for a brokerage firm this detail oriented wouldn't be a very good one. I'm a CPA, I know, it would be ridiculous. The financial information they are provided is "reasonably accurate," far from exact, so trying to be exact with inexact figures is useless. When I audited public companies we often rounded to the nearest million dollars or more. It's all about knowing the level of precision you need.
Ironically, in this project, she actually had the exact fractions written down. It was when she plugged them into a calculator (allowed) to get a decimal answer that the teacher took points off. But an extra decimal place would still have been less exact than the fractions which preserved the exact values. My daughter understands this.
There's a great book called "Arithmetic for Human Beings" by Robert Froman that talks about how schools requiring this level of precision when it's clearly not necessary teach kids to loathe arithmetic. Example: "How old are you today?" Which answer is correct? Ten Going on eleven Ten years, seven months, seventeen days and six hours.
Excessive levels of detail can cloud the useful answer. I reviewed this excellent book here: http://www.livingmath.net/ArithmeticforHumanBeings/tabid/1067/Default.aspx

