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Old 06-11-2019, 03:36 PM
amarinth is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Emerald City, WA, USA
Posts: 9,819
Originally Posted by Lancia View Post
Many can factor a polynomial or balance an equation—basic pre-algebra stuff—but don’t know the first thing about balancing their checkbook.
I've never met anyone who could factor a polynomial but couldn't balance a checkbook. (Met plenty who didn't balance their checkbooks - but not because they couldn't understand the math.) What I see is kids failing to understand factoring polynomials because they can't factor numbers.

Ideally, algebra teaches you a method of solving problems (take the information you have, manipulate it into figuring out the information you're looking for using a few rules). Geometry teaches how to start with a situation and some true statements and use logic to prove other true statements about that situation; it also teaches how to spot faulty logic.

I'm also not sure why accounting is considered more practical than figuring out how much butter you'll need (and whether you need to buy more) when you have a cake recipe for a 13"x9" pan, but all you have are 8" round cake pans (because your 13"x9" is where you're cooking the lasagna - speaking of which, two of your guests are vegans, so how do you change this entree that serves 6 into an entree that serves 4? and what time does it need to go into the oven so that everything is ready to eat at the same time since they all have different baking and resting times?)

1- I don't remember
2- 3-4 years of math seems about right.
3- As a separate class, no. But, I do suppose checkbook balancing could be part of learning how to add and subtract. And I am surprised that compound interest isn't covered when kids learn about exponential functions.