Fuzzy Math

Discussion in 'Education' started by Nienna, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. Nienna
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    Nienna Senior Member

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    My son brought home a paper that said, "The goal of the new mathematics curriculum is to understand relationships between numbers, and the identity of numbers themselves. For example, we want students to understand the threeness of three." :shocked: :blowup: I felt like I should be wearing tie-dye and breaking out the bong!

    My daughter is learning the new method of multi-digit addition/subtraction, going from left to right, instead of right to left. They don't want to confuse students by going in the opposite direction they go when they read. Only problem is... uh, how you gonna BORROW? They have only done addition so far. Subtraction should be interesting. Here's a sample addition problem:

    124
    +399
    400
    110
    +013
    523

    So they have to add two separate groups of numbers to arrive at the answer. The teacher just can't figure out why they are confused about this. But, obviously, it's much less complicated than going right-to-left and carrying!

    Anyone else have serious issues with some of the stuff they are trying to do with the kids these days? Kathianne, I know it's grade school curriculum, but what are your thoughts?
     
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  2. no1tovote4
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    no1tovote4 VIP Member

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    Grasping the Threeness of Three is a bit difficult. You have to feel it in your bones, in the center of your being.

    I have a friend that sent his kid to a school that tried to teach a semi-cursive script in first grade attempting to prepare them for cursive. It was stupid, the kids had so much trouble making the curlicues etc necessary for the script and were unable to read printing.
     
  3. Nienna
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    Nienna Senior Member

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    Ooookay! I understand it much better now! ;)

    Yeah, yeah! See? :scratch:
     
  4. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Wait til the kids hit multiplication and division. Since one must focus on the 'process' and rote learning is so passe, they do an interesting method now, thanks U of Chicago: 3X4 is 3+3+3+3. For some reason these kids are running into trouble when they hit 13734X3429. :rolleyes: Luckily in parochial school they are tossing aside the text and making the kids learn the math facts, though the class that did follow the program a few years ago is still having serious problems.
    It's call D'nealian method. It's crap, but goes right along with not correcting spelling in the 'writing to read' methodology being taught. http://www.matchfonts.com/pages/discov_blocklhandw.html
     
  5. Nienna
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    Nienna Senior Member

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    Seriously, what goes through these people's heads? Can they truly not see the problems with this stuff? I find it so astounding that a person can be so caught up in educational THEORY that they forget to actually EDUCATE the kids! I am having to re-teach my kids a lot of this stuff at home. Why are they wasting seven hours a day, when I have to wipe tears of frustration from their eyes(literally!) and teach them myself when they get home? I also hate the fact that, not infrequently, I find myself saying, "I know your teacher said such-and-such, but really, you need to..." I thought parents and teachers were supposed to work as a team. I hate doing that, but if the alternative is my kid failing, well, what else am I supposed to do? And I really feel sorry for the teachers who know the curriculum is not working, but they are bound to teaching it. I have spoken to several teachers about my concerns, and you can tell that many of them are just biting their tongues.

    So who makes these decisions? Do they actually spend time in the classroom working with kids? Or is it some NEA wacko with a bright idea about how to shake things up in the classroom? I would like to strangle them, whoever they are.
     
  6. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    I don't get why they're doing it so stupidly. Now, when I add 124+399, I think of it as 123+400, because it's easier, but I'd rather have learned the long method. Learning the entier process is for advanced math. Sure, you can find the area of a circle by plugging the radius into 2*pi*r^2, but you have to take 2 years of calculus just to know how they get that, and 2 years of advanced calculus just to find out how calculus works.
     
  7. insein
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    insein Senior Member

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    And the bottomline is, no one ever needs calculus in life. Ive taken up to calc 2 in college. ITs been 3 years since i ve taken it. I cant remember a single time in my life when ive needed it. Geometry and grade school math is all ive ever needed in life so far.
     
  8. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    I've needed it for advanced computer algorithms, and I've also known several physics and engineering majors who, naturally, use calculus all the time, since it was invented for the purpose of doing physics.
     
  9. KarlMarx
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    KarlMarx Senior Member

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    Why do drugs when you have this loopy math to distort your perception of reality?

    Oh, and bad news about the number "3", it had one of those operations and is taking hormone injections, it is now living in East Hollywood as the letter "B". It felt as if it were a letter living inside a numeral's body and couldn't go living that way.

    seriously...


    I personally don't see anything wrong with rote learning.. i.e. memorize facts, memorize process... at least for young kids.... the deeper understanding can follow later.

    Plus, struggle is part of the learning process... that's how you learn.
     
  10. Nienna
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    Nienna Senior Member

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    That's exactly what I'm talking about. They seem to want to put the cart before the horse. For example, my son (Kgarten) was sent home a list of sight words he needed to recognize BEFORE they taught them letters and letter sounds! Supposedly, it increases their confidence to be able to "read" these words. Me, I'd rather teach a man to farm than give him one meal. They might have confidence in the short term, but in the long run, how are they going to be able to read a word they have never seen before? Luckily, my son knew his letters and sounds before he entered school. We have been working on "sounding out" words, and he is getting better at that. But I have purposely held out on practicing his "sight words" until he understood the concept of "sounding out." What do parents do who have to work and don't have time for all that?

    On a list of reading "strategies" sent home with my daughter last year, they had several suggestions on what to do if you were stuck on a word, including "look at the picture for clues" and "look at the first letter and take a guess." Also, "think about what word would make sense in the story." Okay, if a kid is really stuck, I guess those things might help. But what really struck me was that "sound it out" was the very last thing on a list of about eight things!

    Now, my daughter Emma is gifted. She understands both of the addition methods above. I am all for teaching alternative methods to gifted kids, AFTER they teach them the normal way. It would be a blessing for them to have somthing to occupy their minds. But, regular kids, like my daughter Abbie... Last year, multiplication was a two-week crying festival. She couldn't understand multiplication. Found out they were throwing all these "shortcuts" at the kids BEFORE they had memorized 3x4=12. And Abbie is very responsible; she was set on doing it the way the teacher told her because she wanted to do it "the right way." The only problem was that "the right way" was complete jumble in her mind. It took me a week to convince her that it was OKAY to just memorize the facts. Then I drilled her every day. Lo and Behold! She started passing her quizzes!

    I always assumed I would have to work with my kids at home to get them through school. Especially in certain subjects (science) where they are taught things that are the opposite of what we believe. But I never thought I would feel like I have to fight "the system" every step of the way.
     

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