It’s Elementary (School), My Dear Watson

[Rescued from my old blog.]

From Time magazine, June 18, 1956:

“[M]athematics has the dubious honor of being the least popular subject in the curriculum… Future teachers pass through the elementary schools learning to detest mathematics… They return to the elementary school to teach a new generation to detest it.”

Quoted by George Polya in How to Solve It. I finally got my very own copy of this excellent book, so I can quit pestering the librarian to let me order it from library loan again…

Blogger Rudbeckia Hirta teaches math to pre-service teachers, and it seems that not much has changed since 1956. Hirta says the test answers shown were representative of her class — for instance, 25% of her students missed the juice problem. Too bad these students never read Polya’s book, in which he discusses a four-step method for solving problems. Step four is to look back and ask yourself whether the answer makes sense. Good advice!

Continue reading It’s Elementary (School), My Dear Watson

So You Think You Know Calculus?

[Rescued from my old blog.]

Rudbeckia Hirta over at Learning Curves submits a great idea for a new TV blockbuster:

So You Think You Know Calculus?

I’ve read that Charlotte Mason used oral exams like this with her students, though of course without the pressure and sarcastic comments. I’d love to hear how this works in “real life.”

Continue reading So You Think You Know Calculus?