Skip to comments.Math 1950-2005
Posted on 03/07/2006 6:56:04 AM PST by ZULU
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And why the heck when they teach long division do they not just come out and tell kids that its a bunch of guessing??/ That it ain't like adding and multiplying which has rules.
parsy, who wonders why we waste much time on long division anyway. And algebra. And science fairs.
in defense of cashiers(of which i am one, and i do know how to make change in my head) when you are busy and the cash register does the work for you, you learn to not pay attention to numbers you don't need to remember.
example. you buy 5.50 worth of stuff...i tell you what you owe and you give me 10$..I HAVE to punch in 10.$ and when i do the 5.50 amount leaves the screen and your change comes up....now when I have 50 transactions in 15 minutes I simply can't remember what everyone's tally came to so I simply try not to retain that number. Now if you gave me 10.50 it does stop me for a second because I have to get the number on the screen out of my head and think for myself for a second:)
Its not that I can't do it its that I have to stop mid transaction and make my brain think differently.
Uh Uh!!! Long division is NOT an exact science. It is just guessing.
parsy, who knows.
Well, when you're down at this level. It gets freaky in Ph.D. land, and even engineering, "2+2=5 for sufficiently large values of 2."
Sickness. A complete conversion to electronic cash would definitely result in fewer sick employees. Dollar bills are NASTY, I'm sure most of us did that experiment in biology class.
My personal best was within .43 on a total bill of over $90. My wife just shook her head and called me a freak.
It's the sign of an excellent economy when even the dumbest of the dumb can get a job working a cash register.
No doubt that this is the goal. Hard to say if it is realistic. It never ceases to amaze me how many people don't have a bank account. They want to do business solely in cash. When necessary they pay outlandish fees for money orders and check cashing services. I don't have data but it wouldn't surprise me if this population has not become any smaller despite the commitment you describe.
I am sure a lot of this population is here illegally but by no means all of them. I've run into any number of people with no bank account who demanded to be paid in cash. Only thing they had in common was an attitude.
That depends on the school. I was doing long division in 1st, fractions by 2nd grade, and sines, cosines, square roots, cube roots, etc. by 4th. That was a public school, and I can guarantee it is every bit as good today as it was then.
Most public schools in my area are every bit as good. If you look at test scores, they really are highly dependent upon economic status of the students more than anything else. More than ethnic background or school funding level. My gut tells me that means that the parents aren't doing their part in the process. The private schools in the area simply aren't any better than the well run public schools.
If you want to know what "State of the Art " is in teaching mathematics get the book titled "Elementary and Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally" by Van de Walle. It a resource book for teachers of K-8 mathematics. It discusses the math reform movement and even has advice for teachers in dealing with parents who support "back to basics" and "drill and kill."
I'm reading it because it gives me some insight into the strengths and more importantly, weaknesses of the method.
My first impression of the book is that it is heavy on words but light on ideas and spends too much time on educational cant.
But it's useful to read educational texts because teachers take you more seriously when you're familiar with their field.
Actually, reading and writing backwards is VERY normal, although it is disconcerting. At this age a fairly large percentage of children will do this, as they are beginning to understand words, sounds, and basic grammar, but don't understand structure yet. Just wait until they write words backwards to the point where they look perfect when held up to a mirror. THAT'S disturbing (but still normal)
(unfortunately, there is no backwards font)
There's a good reason to reinforce estimation. If you can estimate a ball-park number, you're less likely to be misled by a wrong calculation, e.g., a slipped decimal on a calculator. I can't tell you how many times in business someone would come to me with a calculated result that was off by orders of magnitude, but they insisted it was right because that's the number that came off the calculator/computer. If they'd had any estimation skills, they would have realized the answer was wrong, checked their work, and corrected the error before making fools of themselves.
I do the same thing. What's hilarious is when you get faster than the guy typing it into the cash register. You tell them the change, and they look in you in absolute wonder like you just cracked the ENIGMA code or something.
I feel great because as I age that means that there will be less and less competition from youngsters in really demanding technical fields. Of course it spells doom for the country over the long term.
Does anybody remember how to extract a square root with paper and pencil?
(Really showing age here)
I was at the store today. The total at the register was $15.02. I gave the clerk $20.05. After looking at the twenty dollar bill and the nickel, and the register total several times, the clerk handed me back the nickel and started to make change, saying the nickel didnt help. When the clerk was done, I took three pennies from the pile, added the nickel, and asked for a five dollar bill, a transaction that took another minute to complete. As I left this fine establishment, I envisioned a page in a future book referencing the history of math studies in public schools:
Teaching Math in 1960:
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his gross profit, and if he has to pay income tax of 44% on his profit, what is his net after tax profit?
Teaching Math in 1970:
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. His gross profit is $20, and his additional expenses are $5. What is his net profit? (Hint: N=G-E where N = net profit G= gross profit and E = additional expenses)
Teaching Math in 1980:
A logger exchanges a set "L" of lumber for a set "M" of money. The cardinality of set "M" is 100. Each element is worth one dollar. Make 100 dots representing the elements of the set M". The set "C", the cost of production, contains 20 fewer points than set "M." Represent the set "C" as a subset of set "M" and answer the following question: What is the cardinality of the set "P" for profits?
Teaching Math in 1990:
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. Her cost of production is $80 and her gross profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.
Teaching Math in 1998:
By cutting down beautiful trees, ruining rare old-growth forests and endangering our environment, the greedy logger makes $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel as the logger destroyed their homes? There are no wrong answers.
Teaching Math in 2000:
Our curriculum has been revised to more appropriately reflect the requirements of our children in todays diverse, multi-cultural society. Our concern is to provide future leaders of the new world order with the self esteem they need to make decisions with confidence, so that, no matter the result or consequences of their choices or actions, they can be proud that they did their very best to accommodate the many varied goals, opinions and compromises inherit in our complex, dynamic, global community.
Wow! Don't our kids amaze us! I also read to my kids a lot. So I suppose I can take a credit for that at least.
Don't punch in $10 tendered if the customer gives you $10.50
I was reading at 4; I was an exception. So is your little one. I've met high schoolers who have a hard time reading, and can't make a thoughtful and complete sentence.
I thought that was just a hormonal issue - I know I hard time making a thoughtful and complete sentence if there was a girl around... Uh, Uh, Uh...
I see employees fumble to make change all of the time. A couple of times my twelve year old, who was actually ten on one of these occasions noticed the frustration on the employee's face and attempted to alleviate it by telling them how to make the correct change. He wasn't trying to be a smarty pants. He ever so politely said,"you need another nickel and two pennies."
This is why we homeschool
In the DC area, "well run public school" is an oxymoron. What geographic area are you discussing?
Too much water under the bridge, C.
LOL! You're right; me too.
I remember using a slide rule. But that took brains and knowledge of powers of ten.
I seriously doubt if most kids today would even be able to figure out what the thing was used for. They'd probably think it was a carpenter's measure.
"This girl had never been exposed to a broom or mop. She told me that her mother paid somebody else to do that kind of thing."
I think most guys today couldn't change the oil and filter or drain the anti-freeze from their cars.
They can operate a computer terminal but wouldn't know how to use a handsaw or hammer.
I like it.
Why don't you post it tomorrow?
The girl at the register had no way to enter the coupon and was told to figure it out -- i.e., figure out what my 70+ photos should cost. I watched here struggle with the multiplication that she was doing on scrap paper because there was no calculator behind the counter and she couldn't even use the register to do it for her.
2nd best part: I'm a math teacher, so I trying to politely instruct her how to do this. She ignored me (or didn't here me) when I said that should be an '8' not a '7'.
Best part: She hadn't a clue about decimal places. Apparently, 75 times .19 equal $1.07.
I did bother trying to correct her (I mentioned something about the decimal) but to no avail. I usually correct anyone that screws up my change (up or down) because they are responsible. But that screwup didn't make it into the system. Maybe it'll instruct Rite-Aid to either upgrade equipment or upgrade their staff.
Ohio, Michigan, Illinois.... there are still some poorly run districts, but some are fantastic. The one I live in now does not get the highest test scores, but they offer many advanced classes (15 different AP courses plus the more rigorous IB program). All this while about 40% of the students are considered poor, more are minorities, and the property tax rate is the lowest in the area.
There are some well run public schools in the DC area (Thomas Jefferson High in Fairfax is EXCELLENT)- but DC's public schools are a mess. There are some poorly run districts around here as well, but there are many that are VERY good.
Sorry - that should read Fairfax County....
Excellent points joesbucks. Both kids and adults naturally will tend to learn what will get them the most "bang for the buck".
I do get a chuckle about kids that can't count back change correctly (although problems with that in TN seem to be much less frequent these days - maybe schools or the businesses are teaching it).
However, maybe we should remember that while some kid might not know how to count back change, he/she might get a chuckle to find out that we can't do something that they can do with ease - like program a computer application or build a web page in HTML, etc.
Same here. I'm very satisfied with the education my kids are receiving in my rural area. Almost every other family at my Baptist church homeschools, and I would say that my kids are on the same level as the homeschooled kids.
I think the key is (obviously) having the kids in a good school system, and then staying very involved as parents and working with them on homework and extra-curricular studies.
There are some very well run public schools and some that are very poorly run.
I will always contend that the main problem is not how the schools are run. It's an issue, but not the main problem.
Take those kids from DC or many urban areas and put them in some of the best run shools in the nation and they would still have behavioral problems and scholastic performance problems.
Take the kids from the best run districts and put them in our "poorly run" urban schools and my guess is they would still do very well.
I think you're largely correct, in that the schools are not the main problem across the country, but you do have to admit there are some schools some places that just are not run well at all. That doesn't mean that you could expect high test scores from them by addressing just the administration of the school. But there are districts facing similar problems that perform better.
The biggest influence is still the parents. Those that could be moved from a good district to a poor one and still do well most likely have a good influence at home. Those with behavioral problems probably have bad influences at home...
Have you seen the home prices in that neck of the woods? Completely nuts.
You were addressing the manager is English?
There's the problem, she didn't understand your complaint.
What's a $1.58 hamburger ?
Yes, the prices are insane.
That was meant as a single example. Thomas Jefferson accepts students from quite a few counties, though. You don't have to live in Arlington or even Fairfax County. There are also quite a few other districts around DC that are very well run where housing is more affordable.
Our local talk radio station has a caller who likes to call attention to the problem of children and parents in this mix. He says, "how many times have I heard we need to return corporal punishement in our schools to return them to integrity, but in the same breath I hear "don't let them touch my kid."
Change the oil or anti-freeze??
You don't even have to get that complicated. My oldest son picked up spending money on the campus at Southern Miss by knowing how to change a flat and the right order to connect jumper cables to jump off dead batteries.