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Q&A #282

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Math curriculum for gifted middle school students

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From: Ray

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 1998121715:25:54
Subject: Re: Highschool classes

{{ folks at T2T please forward this to Janey Watkins - she sounds very
satisfied with replies to date and may not check back - you have her
email addr. but its not posted as part of this thread.  I think my
first version of this message got lost in the ether, if you get two
delete at least one of them}}

I think the high school classes are a bad idea.  Do a simple test to
find out.  Get the high school algebra book, open it to the middle let
the student read for 30 mins then turn to the problems.  If the
student can do that, let him self pace through the book.  A bright
student can do all of the material in public school algebra in less
than a month if you neglect the endless drill.  Calculus is OK - a
bright student can do all of AP calculus 1&2 in less than a year.

But math is really a richly branching structure - try exposing group
theory, number theory, topology.   Don't worry about tutors and
mentors, there are plenty of people who will help.  I can give you a
few URL's of examples.  Find out what excites this kid.  A self
motivated self paced student will do better than than any pre defined
curriculum.

Check with the student and his other teachers.  Find out if he is
bored there as well and try to fix those classes as well.

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