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View Diary: The algebra formula that saved an industry (258 comments)

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  •  Calculus (11+ / 0-)

    I had a year of college calculus, but I honestly think it is quite possible to get through life just fine without it.  Algebra is important for everyday life, but I'd disagree with you on calculus.

    Basic statistics, though, and how to understand a study, should be more widely taught in high school.  

    •  It is a powerful tool to help you understand (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      profh, Larsstephens

      the world. Calculus is a language that allows you to understand and talk about trends in a fraction of the time it would take to do it without calculus.  When someone says "job losses this month were less than last month" you won't start telling others that the recession over, because you realize that though the 2nd derivative is positive, the 1st is still negative.

      Silvio Levy

      •  Sure it is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        condorcet, Larsstephens

        Sure, it's a good tool to have.  But critical for graduating from high school?  If you don't let people out of high school without understanding it, a lot of them will never make it out of high school at all.  I don't agree with the idea that only those who can pass calculus should have a high school diploma.

        •  I don't either, but we're at the opposite extreme (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens

          right now.  It's not that people get a HS diploma without knowing calculus that worries me. It's that it's fairly easy to get a HS diploma without having learned MUCH more elementary stuff than calculus, and not much in other areas either.

          There's nothing wrong with encouraging students, setting expectations and teaching math well.

          Silvio Levy

          •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Larsstephens

            Can't disagree with this:

            There's nothing wrong with encouraging students, setting expectations and teaching math well.

            •  Absolutely not. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Larsstephens

              Myself, I was reading fluently at three, and began writing stories around eight.

              But I am dyscalculic. I can understand (though I can't explain the understanding) some of the theories of algebra and of calculus, especially where it intersects with music and shape and I can see and hear it. So first grade pretty much taught me that I cannot do math, and when I do it it is a desperate, painful, horrendous struggle. A lot of any love for math went away when I hit the busywork of cranking out worksheet after worksheet of multiplication and long division problems; since the numbers would shift on me, while I understood the theory I could never be confident that a mistake hadn't happened somewhere along there. Because of course calculators were forbidden.

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