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The Cow in the Classroom

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Author:Ivars Peterson (MathLand)
Description: Math Curse by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith spoofs the types of word problems that educators and textbook writers invent to dress up arithmetic exercises and, supposedly, to demonstrate the relevance of math to everyday life. Canadian economist and humorist Stephen Leacock had fun with some of the peculiarities in the use of 'concrete problems' in classroom math in "A, B, and C -- The Human Element in Mathematics." From drawing geometric figures to figuring out word problems, the examples Peterson cites serve as gentle reminders that there is a difference between mathematical exercises disguised as episodes of everyday life and real mathematics applied in the real world, a distinction not always appreciated in the math classroom.

Levels: High School (9-12), College
Languages: English
Resource Types: Problems/Puzzles, Word Problems, Articles, Books, Humor
Math Topics: Problem-Solving
Math Ed Topics: Problem-Solving, Specific Math Concepts/Techniques

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