Thursday, December 29, 2011

Niels Henrik Abel and ChemProf on Please visit an actual classroom before you make recommendations, VII


Niels Henrik Abel said...

I really don't get the inordinate fascination with "quantitative literacy." If you want to get a handle on finance, exponential growth/decay, and all the other "real world" crap that they stick in these types of textbooks, you still need to have a solid foundation of algebra, and the mathematical reasoning that goes along with it.
Can't get away from all those nasty, "irrelevant" Xs and Ys after all. And what Deirdre said is true: the "real world," "relevant" math is harder and more obtuse than the straightforward, "contrived" problems.

ChemProf said...

I teach freshman chemistry, and can tell you that students find algebra with lots of different symbols much more difficult than algebra with x. In kinetics, one of the most dreaded topics is finding a rate law from a mechanism, since it is pure symbolic manipulation.
It is also odd that they include "how computers are programs" when it is almost impossible to find a real programming class in high schools. I'm quite curious about what they think this would look like -- I'm betting it would be a lot of messing with the GUI and not much programming.

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