Skip to comments.Do old fashioned arithmetic algorithms really need to be taught any more?
Posted on 12/18/2011 10:06:54 AM PST by no gnu taxes
I'm talking about the old multiplication and long division calculation methods. I know what you are probably thinking. That I am some public school advocate, even though I was pissed as hell when my kindergarten daughter asked me if I knew the happy kwanzaa song.
But are these really useful anymore? I mean you can buy a calculator for $1 that does all these things and the software developers didn't use those methods for creation of the devices. Did you even understand why these algorithms worked at the time you were taught them?
Not trying to be controversial; just want to know what you think.
We have the internet for looking up history. So let’s not waste our time teaching our kids.
Oh and spell check is readily available. Screw spelling class.
I remember when we got our first calculator in 1974, I thought, “hey man, this would be good for math class!” I was in second grade at the time. My maternal grandmother said, “if you use that all the time, your brain will rot.” I am still in contact with one of my former high school teachers and he says that calculators are OK, but you should know the theory to do it by brain and hand first. I think those are good things to think about and remember. The calculator is there to save time but I think one needs to know the math theory first.
I believe it still needs to be taught — teaching kids arithmetic instructs them in basic logic and casuality, which is needed throughout life ... my $0.02
No - darkness must prevail!
Who needs knowledge when calculators can think for us instead.
Math is for advanced, scientifically savvy societies. Not ours.
Math teaches a human how to think logically and to use a toolbox of methods to find an answer to a problem. Our society is going downhill because we’ve given up those skills and we’d rather hire foreigners and have them find answers for us.
Teach a child how to enter numbers into a calculator and you have a person who can do menial tasks. Teach a child how to work out a math problem and you have a thinker and problem solver.
I’m sure Roman parents thought the same thing: “My child is made to rule, not to do math problems. We can hire a barbarian for that!”
They still need to be taught. Two reasons:
One of the things you figure out as you get older is that a good portion of what you’re taught in school is not for the purposes of making you more knowledgeable, but actually to “help you think”.
Second, if you need to solve something and don’t happen to have a calculator handy, what are you going to do?
Someone, somewhere has to know those methods in order to create the calculators for lazy people to use. If you stop teaching them they fall out of common knowledge and eventually are lost. We’re not teaching the slide rule anymore, but that’s because it’s no longer needed.
Your daughter is not there to become a self-sufficient, critical thinker. She’s there to drink the Flavor-Aid of collectivism and feel good doing it.
I would ban computers and calculators from school....the point of education is to train the mind on what to do with facts, and not just teach people how to use a calculator.
>>Math is for advanced, scientifically savvy societies. Not ours.
Ding Ding. We have a winner!! Well said!
A firm understanding of mathematics is fundamental to scientific and technical excellence.
If all you want to do is prepare people to flip burgers, then you are correct.
If you want to prepare them to be engineers or financially literate human beings.
Eh, I don’t think they need to be banned. I think their use should be strictly limited.
While you *can* figure out most derivations by hand, it takes forever. Once you’ve gotten the concept and methodology down, it is instructive to be able to quickly show the result of a derivation and how alterations affect them.
As for computers - if it weren’t for the relatively high tech nature of my highschool I wouldn’t have entered my career path (software development). Same goes for accountants, office workers, administration, IT, networking, etc etc etc.
Yes. The process teaches you how to think logically and about how numbers work. Calculators short-circuit the process, providing answers without understanding.
So if we are hit by an EMP all of a sudden we have huge numbers of people who can’t mange math?I think it is very important for kids to learn math and learn it the same way we did.I don’t see it as a waste of time and think in a way it teaches how to reason things out.
I don’t think they need to be; that way, when I explain something using mathematics, the fools won’t know that I’m lying through my teeth.
Yes they are useful and should be taught .
Anyone can learn to push a button but by learning math , real advanced math you are teaching them how to think (reasoning and logic)
I hear people comment all the time that they wasted time studying math that they will never use ... these same people are the ones who have problems solving common problems that if they had learned the reasoning skills and truly grasped them they could then take those concepts and easily solve their problems.
Kids today do not know how to THINK and that is why they are easily led .
Your other question: “Did you even understand why these algorithms worked at the time you were taught them?”
Some, sure. More often than not, no. Even now I don’t understand why some of what I learned in calculus actually makes sense - but I didn’t continue into an engineering degree path where those things are broken down into a greater understanding.
Regardless, the point isn’t for you to be able to divide giant numbers.
“Did you even understand why these algorithms worked at the time you were taught them?”
If one is never taught them then one never has the opportunity to understand them...
As a mathematician and engineer, I must say that it is hugely important to teach this to children.
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