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Topic: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Replies: 42   Last Post: Aug 30, 2011 2:17 PM

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kirby urner

Posts: 1,637
Registered: 11/29/05
Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Posted: Aug 22, 2011 11:40 AM
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Here's from a thread on another list connected with the Linus Pauling
boyhood home here in Portland.

Barbara, a former high school teacher (Cleveland High) invokes John
Saxon which I think is interesting, as I was casting Wayne as part of
the loyal opposition to my approach.

Kirby


===

Content-free means no connection-- to life, to meaning, to anything
interesting or exciting--and therefore no motivation to pursue or
learn, except in those relatively rare students who love math problems
for their own sake.

John Saxon wrote some really good algebra books (arithmetic, too, and
I think a calculus book but I never looked at it), whose story
problems involved classical history and other neat topics. Students
constantly ask for connection to their own lives, and "pure" (meaning
content-free) doesn't do that for most.

I like your approach, Kirby.

To: wwwanderers
From: kirby urner
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 11:09:37 -0700
Subject: [wwwanderers] thinking about story problems (math teacher thread)


I've been thinking we waste too much time on content-free story problems
in math teaching.

Wayne Bishop, a chief of the Mathematically Correct tribe, thinks story
problems should be "meaning free" because they're pointing to the
underlying math content.

Anything "meaningful" would just be added spin and hence distracting
from the task at hand: learning math.

In contrast to the "deliberately meaningless" camp is what is (usually
derisively) referred to as Rainforest Math. At this end of the spectrum,
the story problems clearly have a moral to teach, or are at least
bringing up ethical questions, suggesting that a math class might
have something to do with rhetoric or debate.

The brand of Digital Mathematics learning I promote tilts in the direction
of Rainforest Math in the sense that its story problems are deliberately
thematic and persistent, and come with pointers to many topics.

This could be considered a practical, applied, embedded, hands-on
approach i.e. derisive terms are not necessary.

http://wikieducator.org/Digital_Math (more background)

In the linked exhibit below, to a Google Group called mathfuture, I toss
out at least the elements of a story problem. Like imagine you're with
the Chinese Peace Corps and your job is to community-organize in
Detroit.

What kind of math background might you have?

http://groups.google.com/group/mathfuture/browse_thread/thread/e71d5c6907d80b92

Of course I'm not suggesting Chinese speakers are exclusively
well positioned to offer assistance to incompetently engineered
cities that both waste much and want much.

I'd say we have lots of openings in the Global U for general systems
theorists willing to take on some core challenges (including biospheric
degradation caused by over-fishing, over-consumption and whatever).

Kirby


Date Subject Author
8/22/11
Read Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
kirby urner
8/22/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Bishop, Wayne
8/22/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
kirby urner
8/22/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Robert Hansen
8/22/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
kirby urner
8/22/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Robert Hansen
8/22/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
kirby urner
8/23/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Bishop, Wayne
8/23/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
kirby urner
8/22/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Robert Hansen
8/23/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
kirby urner
8/22/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Haim
8/23/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
kirby urner
8/23/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Louis Talman
8/23/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Bishop, Wayne
8/23/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Robert Hansen
8/24/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Dave L. Renfro
8/24/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
kirby urner
8/24/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Joshua Fisher
8/25/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
kirby urner
8/24/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Robert Hansen
8/25/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Haim
8/26/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Paul A. Tanner III
8/26/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Louis Talman
8/26/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Bishop, Wayne
8/27/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Paul A. Tanner III
8/26/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Haim
8/27/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Paul A. Tanner III
8/26/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
israeliteknight
8/26/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
israeliteknight
8/26/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
israeliteknight
8/27/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Haim
8/27/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
kirby urner
8/28/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Paul A. Tanner III
8/27/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
israeliteknight
8/27/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
israeliteknight
8/27/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
israeliteknight
8/27/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Haim
8/29/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
kirby urner
8/28/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
israeliteknight
8/29/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
israeliteknight
8/29/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
Dave L. Renfro
8/30/11
Read Re: Keeping it Pure = Keeping it Meaningless?
kirby urner

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