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Topic: The purge of Number Bases as a topic, from Common Core
Replies: 39   Last Post: Nov 8, 2014 1:59 AM

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 kirby urner Posts: 3,690 Registered: 11/29/05
The purge of Number Bases as a topic, from Common Core
Posted: Nov 5, 2014 10:19 AM
 att1.html (5.9 K)

At least on first pass it appears the Common Core Standard has been purged
of "number bases" as a topic and yet "base 10" lingers as part of the
nomenclature throughout.

To a product of the New Math curriculum such as myself, this realization
comes as a shock, akin to the Surgeon General deciding smoking cigarettes
might be good for one after all.

Imagine being on the committee that decides to strike "number bases" from
the official standards of any state. Was no sleep lost? Were talking
points ever drawn up in case the New York Times had an op-ed exposing this
scandal?

Note that learning about number bases does not imply needing hundreds of
hours of chair time manually converting from arbitrary base A to arbitrary
base B. Leave it to a committee or textbook company to think so
unimaginatively.

When it comes to binary-decimal conversion, we have ASCII and Unicode to
ponder; their historical role, plus again the idea of a "mapping" (a
bijection in this case) of numbers to human language glyphs.

Yes, do some conversions, to and from hex for sure, but there's no need
for page after page of boring nonsense as some parents might be
picturing, and dreading, for homework (some parents have a big investment
in being able to help junior with homework).

I'd actually play the Tom Lehrer track in class, were I back in the
classroom. I've played songs before, such as the fun one on Ramanujan.
No, this isn't fluff, this is the "historical dimension", this is actually
telling students pre high school we once had a thing called New Math and
now we have a thing some of us call Gnu Math (GNU is not UNIX).

Gaining the concepts does *not* mean turning everything into a twitch game
for desk monkeys.

Using a calculator (simulated on screen perhaps) or Python's interactive
free-of-charge console, I can just go:

>>> int('B', 16)
11
>>> int('100101010100', 2)
2388

to get a few of my "to decimal" conversions. Show the tools of the trade
in action. Don't pretend paper and pencil skills are what they're looking
for at that first job interview. Computer skills are what's hot, not the
ability to scratch out stuff with a graphite pencil on wood pulp.

Remember spiraling? When it comes to tedious on-paper algorithms, boring
stuff, you do that two or three times to get a feel, and then you learn to
code it as a program.

No, that's not computer science, that's basic STEM literacy, just like
knowing something about HTML / CSS is not computer science either, but is
rather so much additional grammar and punctuation -- might as well add
that web stuff to English class (what poet Gene Fowler used to advocate).

Anyway, it seems we really have a smoking gun here, with the ability of
America's school children to attain even minimal numeracy as the victim.

If really true, that CCSS Math is really this neglectful, then said smoking
gun may actually be the final nail in its coffin.

I think we'll be able to persuade guardian taxpaying voters that
politicians have been interfering where they have no business and a drastic
dumbing down by these anti-professionals, in cahoots with pros of dubious
moral values, has left us with a structure / framework that's already
rotting away before our very eyes, so transient and unworthy were its
building materials in the first place.

Kirby

On Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 10:13 PM, Anna Roys <roys.anna@gmail.com> wrote:

> Sharing something I read on bases topic...
>
> (snip) Converting between different number bases is actually fairly
> simple, but the thinking behind it can seem a bit confusing at first. And
> while the topic of different bases may seem somewhat pointless to you, the
> rise of computers and computer graphics has increased the need for
> knowledge of how to work with different (non-decimal) base systems,
> particularly binary
> <http://www.purplemath.com/modules/numbbase.htm#Binary> systems (ones and
> <http://www.purplemath.com/modules/numbbase3.htm#Hexidecimal> systems
> (the numbers zero through nine, followed by the letters A through F)"
>
> (another snip) "The only reason base-ten math seems "natural" and the
> other bases don't is that you've been doing base-ten since you were a
> child. And (nearly) every civilization has used base-ten math probably for
> the simple reason that we have ten fingers. If instead we lived in a
> cartoon world, where we would have only four fingers on each hand (count
> them next time you're watching TV or reading the comics), then the
> "natural" base system would likely have been base-eight, or "octal".
>
> http://www.purplemath.com/modules/numbbase.htm
>
>

Message was edited by: kirby urner

Date Subject Author
11/5/14 kirby urner
11/5/14 Joe Niederberger
11/5/14 Robert Hansen
11/5/14 Louis Talman
11/5/14 Robert Hansen
11/6/14 Bishop, Wayne
11/6/14 Louis Talman
11/5/14 Bishop, Wayne
11/5/14 kirby urner
11/5/14 Robert Hansen
11/5/14 kirby urner
11/5/14 Robert Hansen
11/5/14 kirby urner
11/5/14 Robert Hansen
11/6/14 Robert Hansen
11/6/14 Robert Hansen
11/6/14 Bishop, Wayne
11/6/14 Bishop, Wayne
11/5/14 Robert Hansen
11/5/14 kirby urner
11/5/14 Joe Niederberger
11/5/14 Joe Niederberger
11/5/14 Louis Talman
11/5/14 Joe Niederberger
11/5/14 Robert Hansen
11/5/14 Robert Hansen
11/5/14 Carleton Washburne
11/5/14 kirby urner
11/5/14 Joe Niederberger
11/6/14 Robert Hansen
11/6/14 Louis Talman
11/7/14 Robert Hansen
11/5/14 Joe Niederberger
11/6/14 kirby urner
11/6/14 Joe Niederberger
11/6/14 Bishop, Wayne
11/6/14 Louis Talman
11/6/14 kirby urner
11/6/14 Louis Talman
11/8/14 Joe Niederberger