Q&A #8761

MEGSSS vs Algebra/Geometry for Highly Gifted middle schoolers

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From: Joshua (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: May 16, 2002 at 01:55:52
Subject: Re: MEGSSS vs Algebra/Geometry for Highly Gifted middle schoolers

After doing a bit more reading, it seems like the "Elements of Mathematics" program that they use in project MEGSSS is in fact the descendent of the program that I knew as CEMREL (at a public magnet school for the gifted in Los Angeles in the early 1980s). I went on to get my masters in mathematics from Stanford and now I'm a math teacher who answers questions for T2T in my spare time. The curriculum, on its own, does cover the minimal stuff required for the SAT, but it certainly doesn't focus on that sort of math. I'd say it's a program that works best when mixed with some elements of a more traditional algebra and geometry program. I don't know whether the MEGSSS schools in Florida tend to do that kind of mixing or supplementing, or whether they teach purely what's in the "Elements of Mathematics" series. In short, on its own it's a program in pure math without a big enough dose of applications. So I guess I'm back to my original comments: if a student likes pure math, the big ideas of it, the patterns, and so on, go for this type of program. For the kid who likes applications of math, step by step procedures to follow, and is excited about "getting the right answer" more than the journey to the answer, this is probably not the right kind of program. -Joshua, for the T2T service

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