kitchen table math, the sequel: kitchen table math

Monday, April 28, 2008

kitchen table math

I have just spent 3 hours doing Chris’ new homework assignment. The problem set is drawn from two short lessons on parallelograms appearing in one short chapter of Glencoe Geometry New York. The two lessons cover NINE theorems about parallelograms, not one of which I’m able to prove although I am apparently expected to be able to prove all 9 now that I've seen them tidily numbered and listed in an attractive Glencoe Geometry Theorem Chart enhanced with a red-and-tan color scheme.* One two-column proof of Theorem 8.4** (Opp. angles of parallelogram are congruent) and one paragraph proof of Theorem 8.10 (If both pairs of opposite angles are congruent, quadrilateral is a parallelogram) and it's off to the races.

That's not all. Having read nine theorems about parallelograms & 2 proofs, I am now Glencoe-ready to solve homework problems involving PARALLELOGRAMS ON THE COORDINATE PLANE USING THE MIDPOINT FORMULA, etc.

This is a textbook written by math educators.***

Speaking of math educators, thank God I have the Teacher Wraparound Edition. Unfortunately, what I really need now is the Teacher Solution Manual (ISBN: 0078602041). Too bad I didn't think of that.

* I feel about tan the way I feel about beige, only more so.
** And, yes, I did spend time Googling the known universe to find out whether these numbers are official: is Opp. angles of parallelogram are congruent always and everywhere Theorem 8.4? Apparently not.
*** written by math educators, but sounding suspiciously like contemporary geometry textbooks authored by actual mathematicians...


SteveH said...

I linked to the Glencoe site and saw that they offered two Geometry texts: "Glencoe Geometry 2008" (the latest), and "Glencoe Geometry: Concepts and Applications 2008". I noticed this with Pearson math books. If there are any words after the name of the course (such as concept, world, or application), that means it covers less material and the expectations are lower. Compare the descriptions and tables of contents of the two books. However, both books make a big deal about their "Foldables(tm)".

This doesn't say anthing about whether either version is any good, but the point is that a top-down, real-world approach means less mathematical rigor. You're not likely going to see "concept", "application", or "world" on any AP-track math book title.

Catherine Johnson said...

boy, I don't know....I think the AP calculus book is a bit fuzzy --- it's Foerster, I believe. His earlier books are supposed to be fantastic. One of the ktm commenters sent me his Algebra 1 book, which saved my life and my neighbor's back when we were having to reteach probability. I bought the Teacher Edition of his Algebra 2.

But his calculus text looks iffy.

Catherine Johnson said...

Good to know about the "Concepts, Applications" etc.

I've been chronically confused by all the subtitles; hadn't put 2 and 2 together, so to speak.

Catherine Johnson said...

The problem with Glencoe is the massive, massive number of concepts and applications being thrown at the student in the space of two days.

I could hardly believe my ears when C came home yesterday and said he'll be having a "test on proofs" on Thursday.

He's never seen a proof.

He's never read a proof.

He's certainly never done a proof himself.

But he's going to have a test on proofs on Thursday.

Also on the test: Distance Formula and Midpoint Formula.

Lsquared said...

How discouraging. No wonder kids hate proofs--they get tested on them without ever having a chance to learn them (OK--this isn't true of all schools/teachers). I love proofs and love teaching them, but there's nothing I know that can be effectively done by Thursday.