Friday, May 18, 2012

Math problems of the week: traditional vs. IMP trigonometry

The first in a series of posts comparing the introduction of trigonometry in traditional high school math vs. the Reform Math program Interactive Math Program.

I. The first two pages of the first trigonometry chapter in A Second Course in Algebra (published in 1937), pp.393-394 [click to enlarge]:

II. The first two pages of the first trigonometry chapter in Interactive High School Mathematics Math Program Year 4, pp. 4-5 [click to enlarge]:


C T said...

Hmmm, the first was useful information for a friend who worked for the Forest Service for a while tracking tree growth. The second is useful for gymnasts? Oh, and you're probably looking for the obvious: how in the world are the kids supposed to figure out the answer to the second one? It's rather important, since if they get it wrong, someone will get injured.

Lsquared said...

Nice introduction in the old textbook! IMP, I'm afraid, may be the very worst of the high school "standards based" texts. Indeed, there's no way you can properly do justice to just how bad it is just by comparing problems (no matter how unfortunate they may be) since a lot of the problems are in the things that it doesn't do.

Cynthia said...

Is that second problem supposed to make math "accessible"? Looking at it, I realize why teachers now are so big on process instead of correct answers. I'll bet it plays out like this: Kids work on problem. Come up with answer. Teacher knows answer is wrong, helps them understand a variable they left out. Repeat indefinitely until teacher gives them an A for effort. That's the problem with starting with real world problems.