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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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