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Discussion: Roundtable
Topic: Mutually Exclusive and Complementary Events


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Subject:   RE: Mutually Exclusive and Complementary Events
Author: Mathman
Date: Oct 27 2004
i regret that I can not provide any direct assistance.  I must also take the
time to again express my regret that such studies are attempted at such a young
age when there are other matters that need attention to detail. All I can offer
is even more dialogue form another colleague when I submitted your information
and request, as follows:

Quote:
I can recall back in the days of the old MAA grade 13 Algebra course when some
good students had a difficult time wrestling with the concepts of mutually
exclusive and independent events - and these were the brightest of the already
bright group in grade 13. Anything beyond the absolutely trivial and superficial
application of the above concepts was very difficult to master. Understanding
how and when to apply exclusive and independent requires a high level of
comprehension  I can't imagine grade 7 and 8 students coping with these in any
meaningful way.

I realize the above is not a useful reaource to a teacher stuck with
teaching this in elementary school - but -  teachers need to speak up and
seriously question the need for this topic in elementary school when there is a
WEALTH of  content and age appropriate material out there. Is this an attempt to
peek students' interest in studying math by relating this to games of
chance??
END Quote.

"Grade 13" was our graduating year.  As you see, we are all wondering why this
topic is studied at such an advanced degree with the very young, and some why it
is studied so early at all, except to impose yet more study related in some way
to commercial products such as the ocmputer and calculator.

I'm truly sorry that there is no immediate information here that will be of use
to you, but as he suggested, "teachers [do] need to speak up" about the issue
and its ensuing problems for teacher and student.  Perhaps one way is to simply
find that it is virtually impossible.  It is not that it is impossible to teach.
I promised one person I could teach him calculus in three days.  It just might
take a tad longer for him to learn it.

David.

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