kitchen table math, the sequel: ser-venn-ity now part 2

Thursday, February 15, 2007

ser-venn-ity now part 2

Myrtle left this example of a Venn diagram used to "teach" reading, from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, grade 3.

Sometimes I feel like having a child in the public schools is like being the protagonist in Night of the Living Dead.

Every time you look up somebody you used to know well has turned into a pod person. Only in the case of the schools it's not the people who are turning into pods. It's the practices.

e.g. Why am I seeing a Venn diagram on a 3rd grade reading test from Texas?

Answer me that.


Anonymous said...

In early elementary school, my kids have been taught to use Venn diagrams in the context of science and social studies. Most recently my third grader came home with one her class had developed comparing and contrasting the North and South Poles, including what the weather is like, what animals and plants live in each area, etc. Last year I remember one that compared and contrasted two different native American tribes. I think this is useful system for organizing information. I don't see it as math, and I don't see it as reading, but I do see it as useful. The dog and the pig, though . . . they seem like a waste of time.


Catherine Johnson said...

I can see where using a Venn diagram on more complicated material - such as overlaps in plant life - could be helpful....although I don't INSTANTLY see it.

Back in CA we had the Sunset Garden book, which provided a map with tiny little micro-regions inside Los Angeles. Our own micro-region was south of Ventura Blvd and north of Laurel Canyon - it was minute, just a few square miles, I think.

What was useful about those maps was that they specifically did not show overlap. Obviously people were growing most of the same plants north of Ventura Blvd (where property values were lower) that they were growing south of Ventura Boulevard.

What was interesting was the difference: some plants grew much better south of the boulevard (as I recall, fuschia was one of them - and sure enough, we had a big, booming fuschia plant beside the driveway).

When you walked to Ventura Boulevard - which was 3 blocks from our house - you felt the temperature rise. Partly this was due to the fact that we lived with trees while Ventura Boulevard was a large, heavily trafficked street without trees.

Still, the difference was striking; it was quite large.

It would have been interesting to see if property values were consistently higher throughout that little micro-climate.

I bet they were.

Anonymous said...

The pod people are from Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.

Remember, the pods are located in Ed Schools.