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Discussion: Research Area
Topic: Mathematical maturity and lower-order knowledge & skills


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Subject:   (no subject)
Author: grc
Date: May 16 2003
Hi Craig,

This much I can say, if I were to teach, I would be really nitty-gritty about
the math.  No student would be "saved" from it, either by a computer or a
calculator, because kids who don't learn math in some kind of a rigorous way
miss out on options later on, and this is increasing.  Lots of students who
before didn't have to have calculus (and I'm talking about calculus for science
and engineering as opposed to brief calculus) have to take it now.  Computers
have brought math into fields in practical ways that weren't anticipated.  Now
you have students who want to major in geology that have to take that first
class of the regular calculus series.  Biology students are still getting by
with brief calc, but biology is in a big jam and their students are suffering
because math hasn't been included in that curriculum, and now whammo!, math is
right there, in a big way.  Math-biology is an exploding field that is at the
tip of the iceburg, and biology students are having to deal with these results.
Math is creeping in where it wasn't used before, and in some cases, it's not
creeping in, it is moving in at a steady pace, and it's going to keep going.

Saving kids and teaching to the low end will serve the purpose of digging a
bigger, wider grave for them to sit in later on academically.  And the brainy
kids will, as you suggest, find a way, so the grave won't have been dug for
them.

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