They do what they do.
Thinking about schools and peers and parent-child attachments....I came across one of my favorite posts .
There are some great comments on this thread, including Barry and SteveH, worth reading carefully.
Are fundamentals important? Once in a while you get a perfect example to illustrate a point.One of my students today told me he was half Puerto Rican, half Columbian, and half American. I lost it. Worse, my entire class didn't have a clue why I was laughing about this composition.Are these students ready for the Central Limit Theorem? Not!
Great comments, but also a reminder of why we have to make our points very carefully. A few of the early comments wrote in support of statistics/probability on the seemingly reasonable assumption that the statistics/probability involved actual mathematical content and required subject mastery. By the time the corrections had been made later in the thread, the original commenters had seemingly left the building. Being a regular commenter there, I think they would have been swayed by the arguments had they stayed to read them.
IG,I didn't catch it until later. I also wanted to argue that it was the amount of time spent in the early years that was taking away from the basics that was the true problem, not exposing kids to it.Still, schools are often caught between a rock and a hard place since all of that stuff is on the state tests.So, of course, my question for the last few years has been, "Who writes these state tests and puts this stuff in?"SusanS
Who? Investigations In Numbers, Data, and Space aligns quite nicely with the Mass. elementary standards. Here's a coincidence that fits nicely within a 60 mi. radius. From my educrat-industrial complex rolodex....The developers...TERC2067 Massachusetts AvenueCambridge, Massachusetts 02140 USAThe standard writers...Massachusetts DOE75 Pleasant StreetMalden, MA 02148-4906The publishers...Pearson Education501 Boylston StreetBoston, MAThe test writers...Measured Progress100 Education WayP.O. Box 1217Dover, NH 03820The training resource...Lesley UniversityCambridge, MaJust sayin'.
"Still, schools are often caught between a rock and a hard place since all of that stuff is on the state tests."I would argue that the tests are so simple that this is no excuse. I never hear our schools complain that they don't have time for enforcing mastery. Besides, the test questions are what they wanted. They have the curricula they want and they have the tests they want, but still the results stink. In our three-state consortium, they have real teachers select the questions and calibrate "proficiency". "By any standard" [Duncan], the results stink.If schools think that all they need to do is lead the horse to water, then there is nothing to get them to figure out whether the water is a mirage or not.
Structural engineers use statistics the most. Electrical engineers use matrix operations the most. Fluid engineers probably use differential equations the most. This is all irrelevant.The way that math should be taught, and the way that the mind learns to integrate it, corresponds roughly to the order that it was invented/discovered:simple four function arithmeticfractions with common denominatorsratios, measurement and sharing divisiongeometrysquares, square roots, and irrational numbersproportions and using letters to stand for quantitiesone variable linear equationscartesian coordinates and beyond.This "historical" order of subjects sounds naive, but it stands the best chance of bringing the understanding up at the same pace as the computation skills.Children who know how to perform a complex ritual, either by hand or entering data into a Texas Instruments calculator, have not been taught MATH until they know why they are doing these things.
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