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Math Forum » Discussions » Education » math-teach

Topic: dropped topics
Replies: 21   Last Post: Jun 23, 1995 8:15 PM

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Bob Wilson

Posts: 13
Registered: 12/6/04
dropped topics
Posted: Jun 18, 1995 4:28 PM
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In a recent posting, Dr. David Thomas of Louisiana asked about topics no
longer being taught or at least that were under consideration of not being
taught. Earlier this year, I posted a concern to another list of science/math
people about this same topic. My concern dealt with the teaching of
multiplication and division of fractions. I teach 6th grade and highly
question the need for this. As an adult, I can do these types of problems,
but in real life, I don't...ever. I know one might say it is needed, for
example, in cooking. What if a recipe calls for 1/4 cup of flour and I only
want a half recipe? I know that 1/2 of 1/4 is 1/8. However in reality, I
simply fill the 1/4 cup measure 1/2 full.

My question is this: Is it necessary to teach this topic? If so, are 6th
grade students conceptually ready? My feeling, on both counts, is no. When I
last posted this concern, I received some response, both positive and
negative. I even had a chemistry professor from the East who blamed
elementary teachers like me for her college students' inabilities in math (I
didn't know my powers!). At my school we call that kind of "pass the blame"
thinking "It's Aggies's fault" (Aggie is our top of the line kindergarten
teacher). Anyway, to me, it is simply painful to the kids to go through (yes,
I do use lots of manipulatives of the standard kind) and I seriously question
its "real world", to cite another current buzz term, applications.

Robert Wilson wilsonbo@martin.luther.edu
North Winneshiek School
Decorah, Iowa





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