Q&A #12508

Which algorithms should we still teach in high school?

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From: Chip (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Nov 19, 2003 at 10:46:38
Subject: Re: Which algorithms should we still teach in high school?

Carla, I agree with the last post, in that teaching rote following of algorithms is not terribly different than teaching students which buttons to push. There is no understanding in that! You raise, however, a far more interesting point: what should we teach, and what now should we let the calculator handle? For example, should we teach a lot of factoring, given that we can easily find roots on the calculator? How much is enough? For me, I believe that some of the algorithms you mentioned (Descartes' rule, Cramer's rule, etc.) are interesting ways of understanding those subjects without the use of calculators, and can give students the idea of visualizing what is happening - building "function sense", as it were, just like not using the calculator for computation in elementary grades builds number sense. -Chip, for the T2T service

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