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View Diary: AZ-Republican Leader against Algebra (84 comments)

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  •  I am NOT a fan of the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slothlax, slowbutsure

    emphasis on Algebra. (N/T just sayin')
    Though algebraic thinking is good to teach, real world math gets the short shrift.
    A couple months of multiplication tables and that's it ... let's move on to solving for x.
    I have spent a lifetime in construction. Math and measurement are a way of life for me.
    I do NOT use algebra. Ever.
    If we want to teach our children well ... we will:
    Drill multiplication tables for 4 years running ... pop quizzing them throughout the year. It has to be as quick and simple as 2 plus 2.
    Teach kids how to figure in their heads. Breaking down to  tens, setting aside a number in your memory ... doing the rest of the calculation then adding the memorized numbers together. It's simple ... and practically nobody knows how to do it. (Ever go in a gas station and buy a pack of gum then tell the cashier ... give me the balance of 20 on number 3. Out comes the calculator ... or better still ... the horrified look on their face.)
    Geometry. GEOMETRY!! But not the deep into the weeds stuff. Circles ... triangles ... the use of the elusive PI ... not theorems  and no damn Euclid.
    No calculator. None. Ever. In math class.
    Calculator use ... different class ... and in fact, it's also a missing ingredient. How many kids know what all those buttons are for? A teacher spends a couple hours on a calculator and then they move on. It's a great tool, for certain ... but please don't teach it at the expense of an entire generation of ill informed kids turning into damn sight embarrassing adults.

    •  You work in construction... (10+ / 0-)

      ...and you've never built a peaked roof?  You've never squared a structure with a 3-4-5 triangle?  I find it very difficult to believe that you don't use algebra on the job - you're using it, but you must not realize it.

    •  You must have a larger working memory than (2+ / 0-)
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      Lava20, Rashaverak

      most people.  Average is 5, maximum is 7 or 9.  Very hard to build more working memory.

      I once integrated over a curve to calculate how much fill was removed from the Irving Trust Operations Center site in Manhattan, because I could.  Would have been at least as accurate to use squares and triangles.

      ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

      by slowbutsure on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 12:43:44 PM PST

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    •  I work in construction & use algebra & geometry. (4+ / 0-)

      The 3, 4, 5 triangle comes in really handy for right angles.
      So, if you have 1,000 sq ft of wood flooring to install & it is to be a 2 1/4", 3 1/4"", 4" pattern, how many sq ft of each do you need to order?

      I'll tell you right out, I am a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk. - Kasper Gutman

      by rasbobbo on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 01:06:17 PM PST

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    •  Algrebra is a foundation for programming (6+ / 0-)

      You may not use it daily, but any child who even hopes to ever go into programming is going to need the fundamentals of algebra.

      A computer program is, at its core, a long series of math problems.  Instead of using variables of "a" they have more meaningful names, but it's still using the variable and manipulating it to achieve an end.

      for (var i=0;i++)
      {
      document.write([i]);
      }

      If you can't recognize that the "i" in this is a variable number that changes as the program runs, you can't do programming.

      The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

      by catwho on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 01:10:50 PM PST

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      •  i had a mental block against algebra (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        catwho

        (horrid sexist teacher for first intro) - got out of college with the math requirement ONLY because "modern" math was the class - i could add 2+2 and get 10 - piece of cake since it was a totally new language.

        never grasped algebra until i fell in love with video games and someone explained how the cursor moved x spaces over and y lines down to calculate where the target would be...

        that, and realizing if i didn't learn vectoring, speed and current - if i ever got my dream chance to sail to london, i might end up in africa instead!

        then it started to make sense!

        it is all about being relevant!

        EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

        by edrie on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 03:15:25 PM PST

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    •  You work in construction... (0+ / 0-)

      And you never use Algebra?  Remind me to never higher you for a job.

      “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck (Disputed)

      by RichM on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 02:39:17 PM PST

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    •  I tend to agree (1+ / 0-)
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      texasmom

      The math I had in high school -- college-prep algebra, geometry, trig, pre-calc, and calculus (which I skipped) was interesting to a few (almost all males), and I'm sure it's useful to even fewer -- essential people like engineers, but still, a distinct minority.

      What most people really need (beyond being able to do arithmetic in their heads -- my mom made me, and I totally agree on that) is a basic understanding of statistics (difference between "mean" and "median," for example), and basic accounting so they understand their paystub, checkbook, mortgage interest rates (and compound interest), amortization schedules.

      At least be able to figure out whether 3 apples for $5 is a better deal than 4 for $6, since the grocery stores don't seem to get the concept of unit-pricing laws.

      I also know some schools (including one fabulous charter here in Providence) that teach navigation -- the old-fashioned way, where you have to use triangles and sextants and stuff -- and slip the math in that way. That makes sense to me too.

      These are all useful discussions about what we mean by "education" and what everyone should know. Dismissing algebra because it uses letters rather than numbers is just dumb.

    •  The algebra you get in high school is a teeny-tiny (1+ / 0-)
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      PSzymeczek

      little corner of capital "A" Algebra. Ask rserven. Or check out Wikipedia.

      I think the common core should include information on the scope of math and science. A part of every introductory class should have references to the enormity of human study. First year algebra should expose students to the enormity of algebra, and the same should apply to biology, chemistry, etc. You never know what some kid in the back row will find inspiring.

      "It ain’t supposed to make sense; it’s faith. Faith is something that you believe that nobody in his right mind would believe." - Archie Bunker

      by Banach MacAmbrais on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 03:25:31 PM PST

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