kitchen table math, the sequel: I give up

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I give up

Now these take-home worksheets are making me feel like an idiot. Here it is:

x2 + 2y = 10

What do you notice about the expression?

Uh, and she's looking for ... what, exactly?


Catherine Johnson said...

I notice that there are two variables, one of which is squared.

Is this it?

This is what's on the worksheet?

Catherine Johnson said...

His parents need to tell the school their son isn't going to do this worksheet.

I'm not kidding about that.

Maybe parents can't change the system.

We can refuse to allow our kids to be hammered by this cr**.

Unknown said...

I have no idea. Let's see, it's got an x and a y, and an exponent, and a plus sign and an equals sign and a ten. It's a quadratic equation. And I still have no idea what this worksheet is trying to get at.

Anonymous said...

It is a parabola that opens downward with a maximum value, or upper bound, of (0,5). Some of the other ordered pairs are (2,3), (1,4), (3,0.5), (-2,3), (-1,4), and (-3,0.5).

The "notice about" is rather vague. I thought math was clear and concise.


Unknown said...

I would send it back with this written on it:

"I notice that it's not an expression. It's an equation."

Instructivist said...

"What do you notice about the expression?"

As mr. person says, it's an equation.

Ask them if they meant to say: What do you notice about the expression on your face?

Asnwer: My expression says this must have been written by idiots.

Is this from a professionally prepared workbook or did someone just scribble it down? Perhaps a math educator.

There is also the issue of context. This could have been ripped out of a context that makes the purpose clear. Extra-textual context could also be crucial here.

Anonymous said...

I actually got a very open ended essay question on a nonsense questionnaire when I was in high school (I think the class was "personal growth").

I wrote a two page essay on the symbolism of the font choice, average sentence length, etc.

I handed it in.

The teacher returned it with a comment to the effect that he didn't think I had understood the question (oh, no. I understood it perfectly. But if you are going to spend your time assigning B.S. questions, I'm going to spend my time writing B.S. answers ...)

My dad saved that paper with the comments. He considered it a "classic". I think he still has it.

There isn't much to work with here, but maybe start off with the fact that there are 8 glyphs (is that the term? numbers, letters, symbols)? 8 is a cube *and* a power of two! You can probably look up the ASCII values for all the glyphs and then start doing some great arithmetic on them (think "unlocking the Bible code").

I suppose it depends on how old the kid is ...

-Mark Roulo

Catherine Johnson said...

oh my god

I didn't realize "What do you notice about the expression?" WAS THE QUESTION.

Good lord


The worksheet actually said "expression"?

oh boy

Catherine Johnson said...

oh gosh, that reminds me

back before we were even in the middle school, and my neighbor was struggling with the Divine Ms. K, that was her first skirmish

her son got marked down for calling an expression and expression (or an equation an equation; I've forgotten which)

My neighbor was back and forth on email citing definitions of equations.

Catherine Johnson said...


That sounds like a classic.

Christopher's starting to hone his satire skills.

After they finished their ELA tests this week the kids were given a responsibility packet to fill out.

Under "responsible behavior" he wrote "snitching on your friends."

I confiscated the packet.

He's not going to be spending one second more filling out personal responsibility forms.

Doug Sundseth said...

I noticed that there are two "x"s (multiplied), two "y"s (added) and they are equal to two (base 2)*.

* There are 10 kinds of people in the world: People who don't understand binary, people who do understand binary, and people who understand trinary. Recurse** to taste.

** Backformation from "recursion" or "recursive", using "iteration"/"iterate" as a model.

Catherine Johnson said...

ok, Doug, stop showing off

Catherine Johnson said...

i'm joking, btw

i love it when you guys show off

Anonymous said...

"Under 'responsible behavior' he wrote 'snitching on your friends.'"

Good for Christopher! I think you should have let him send it in. This *is* what they were teaching him last year (if I remember correctly). Spelling it out for them is brutal, but honest. I like forcing them to acknowledge what they are teaching.

-Mark Roulo

Catherine Johnson said...

This *is* what they were teaching him last year (if I remember correctly


that was last year's lesson