I’ve engaged in discussions trying to answer this question ever since I started teaching AP calculus in 1995. Since 2001, when the No Child Left Behind assessments and high school graduation exams were implemented, this question has become even more relevant. In fact, it has raised more questions than answers. For instance:
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I enjoy browsing the TED video collection
, which includes a series of talks by “thinkers and doers” in the areas of technology, entertainment, and design (hence the acronym “TED”). Similar to the five-minute Ignite talks that Key Curriculum Press hosts at various math conferences, TED presentations challenge their speakers to give the “talk … Continue Reading ››
Last week I received this letter from a student named Morgan R. (I'm withholding his last name), with no return address or contact information, so I thought I'd respond to him here. First, Morgan's letter:
I'm sorry that this Investigation has caused you such consternation. I … Continue Reading ››
Did you know that the average American consumes 52 quarts of popcorn a year? Or that sucking on an ice cube burns 2.3 calories?
These were just a few of the fascinating facts I learned recently while sitting in the movie theater with my eight year-old … Continue Reading ››
I was flipping through TV channels recently when I came upon The Defenders
, a courtroom drama. The show was new to me, but one courtroom scene—and one line in particular—resonated with my experience as an educator.
In this scene, the defense attorney (and star of the show) gave a very short opening statement to the jury. … Continue Reading ››
I was taken aback when I saw that a theater was showing the Michael J. Fox movie, Back to the Future
, in celebration of its 25th anniversary.
My first thought was, “Darn, am I that old?” After taking my Gingko Biloba, my memory was successfully jogged … Continue Reading ››
Chaos. That's the way I would describe my first attempt at having my students try cooperative learning. Utter, complete chaos. Which came as a complete surprise to me at the time, because, after all, I had attended the training on cooperative learning and had done everything just the way I'd heard it explained!
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I was recently in a school where an Algebra 2 teacher was lamenting how painful it was to allow his students to use calculators in class and on tests. His diatribe reminded me of my stand on calculators in the classroom when NCTM first recommended their use in the late 1980s. I questioned why I … Continue Reading ››
Last week Andres referenced the Washington Post op-ed, How much math do we really need? This is an important question, particularly since more states are requiring students to take advanced algebra to graduate from high school. But, I am more interested in the question:
Does taking math matter if students can’t use it?
I love Sandy’s metaphor of the waves of educational reform:
As a teacher of mathematics since the mid-seventies, I have seen a lot of “waves” of reform come and go. All promise increased student performance with the implementation of the latest bells and whistles…. The latest “wave” of reform is the Common Core State Standards.
I was … Continue Reading ››