Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #51  
Old 06-12-2019, 09:56 AM
kopek is offline
born to be shunned
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Southwestern PA
Posts: 14,617
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
1

I propose we need math but it should be practical math such as accounting and understanding of business and finance such as how to analyze a loan and how compounded interest works. Why? Because no matter what field you go into you will need those skills.

What do you all think?

Questions:

1. How many years of HS math were you required to have?

2. How many years of HS math do you think we should require?

3. Would you prefer HS students take more practical math courses like financial math over math with more scientific applications like geometry?
1 It depended: early/mid 70s. College Prep needed 3 years and business/general students needed 1. But they had access to a year or more of what you are calling more practical math. That was denied to us as well as things like typing. Literally we could not take those classes. Even as a kid it seemed stupid to me.

2 I am going with 2 years. If you do go college they have classes in place to get you up to speed if needed and if a math-heavy job is attractive to you you can always take a heavier math load in high school. I was able to do Algebra I & II, geometry, Trig and calc I & II; our school had a helluva math department.

3 For general students and most college-bound kids; yeah. I went into education and psychology and 10 years after college ended up starting my own business. Some practical math would have saved me a lot of hassle. For all the advanced math I learned and how good I was at it, I don't think I've use a stitch of it since about 1982 or so. Except for one bizarre site that used advanced formulas to hide/reveal passwords.
  #52  
Old 06-12-2019, 11:42 AM
sitchensis is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: revillagigedo
Posts: 2,745
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
And please teach them that you can solve for anything, not just for X, and that your "variable" can have a long-ass symbol, and that you can always say "you know what, since this variable's symbol is kind of clunky, I'm going to rename it 'x'". Or 'chocolate'. Or '©'. The biggest problem most of my chemistry students had wasn't with chemistry, it was with not knowing that you could solve for [HCO3-]
That's true and I think it goes along with my main point. Half the trouble I have in teaching math (practical math in a tech ed environment) is convincing the students that what they are learning is a skill unto itself and not a stepping stone to a harder and harder skill that they're eventually going to fail at.
  #53  
Old 06-12-2019, 12:53 PM
robby's Avatar
robby is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 5,436
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancia View Post
...So I think high school math curriculums need to be completely axed and re-created from scratch using real-world math concepts and teaching students what they need to know to actually function in society. If they need calculus or trigonometry for their career, they can learn it in college. Take out that mandatory pre-calc class and add in a "how to compute and file your taxes" class. The 2014 revision to the GED test took a couple steps in that direction, but did not go nearly far enough IMO.
As an engineer and a former prep school chemistry/physics instructor, I am biased, but the statement that "[i]f they need calculus or trigonometry for their career, they can learn it in college" is terrible advice, IMHO.

An engineering student needs as much math as they can get before they get to college, preferably through calculus. If they haven't even had trigonometry or pre-calc in high school, they will have a very difficult time in college -- and will likely flunk out before the end of their freshman year.

Any student taking an introductory chemistry or physics class (so-called "college-level," even though it may actually be taken in high school) needs a good grasp of algebra before taking the class.

Finally, a first-year college physics course for engineers requires that they either have taken (or are taking) first-year calculus.
  #54  
Old 06-12-2019, 01:08 PM
dalej42 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Chicago
Posts: 14,142
I guess the BBC has been reading the SDMB.

Related article here: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-ca...lflow_facebook
__________________
Twitter:@Stardales IG:@Dalej42
  #55  
Old 06-12-2019, 01:36 PM
Thudlow Boink's Avatar
Thudlow Boink is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Lincoln, IL
Posts: 26,861
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalej42 View Post
I guess the BBC has been reading the SDMB.

Related article here: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-ca...lflow_facebook
From that article:
Quote:
young people in the US must take maths until they leave school
Cite?
Quote:
Current guidelines demand that every young American study geometry and trigonometry, plus two years of algebra.
Cite?
Quote:
Prof Hacker, who expands on this view in his book The Math Myth and Other STEM Delusions, describes himself as a "numbers person". But most people, he claims, are not.

"There are about 7% of human beings who have a kind of natural aptitude for math," he notes. "For the rest, it's sheer torture, for no purpose."
Oh, that guy. What a maroon! When that book came out a few years ago, there were plenty of criticsms of it, including in The Atlantic (Debunking the Myths Behind ‘The Math Myth’), Slate (It Doesn’t Add Up),
Quote:
Hacker’s book has so many problems in both substance and form that it’s hard to take his thesis seriously. I kept track of errors, unreferenced claims, and misleading arguments as I read The Math Myth, and I found so many that I’m halfway tempted to publish an annotated edition of the book.
and here on the SDMB.
  #56  
Old 06-12-2019, 04:19 PM
TBG is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Michigan
Posts: 9,068
I liked math and always thought it was unfair that I had to take English classes (which I did not like) every year but the students that liked English more than math only had to take a single math class.

Grades were not the issue, I did well in most classes and when I did not there were external factors in play. On the ACT, I actually got a perfect score in English, and a lower (but still fairly exceptional) score in math. I just couldn't stand the classes.
  #57  
Old 06-12-2019, 04:20 PM
P-man is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Washington, DC area
Posts: 1,668
One year of math was all that was required for us to graduate. I think the class was called "General Math".
I took Algebra One (failed a couple of grading periods but got by with a C-), Geometry (C+/B-) and Algebra Two (needed daily tutoring to get a D-).
Kids in our county have to take math every year in high school. I'm not down with that. Our younger son had already taken Precalc going into his senior year, because he took Algebra One in eighth grade. He crashed and burned when forced to take Calc, and would have failed if his older brother hadn't tutored him. Three years sounds about right, with the option to go more slowly. I assume that moving more slowly would probably mean four years of math. I'm guessing that if I had gone at a pace that worked for me I might have actually learned the material for a year and a half or so of Algebra.

My struggles didn't mess up my SAT and ACT scores much. My math scores were lower, but not by that much. Unfortunately, my decent test scores convinced teachers that I just wasn't trying. My hypothesis is that I'm very good at recognizing wrong answers. If I had needed to explains my answers, as is required on the PARCC that our kids had to take, I would have probably been up the creek.
  #58  
Old 06-12-2019, 05:26 PM
susan's Avatar
susan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Coastal USA
Posts: 9,389
When I was a high school student in the 70's, we had to take Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry. Trig, Calculus, ad College Algebra, as well as Statistics, were optional.
  #59  
Old 06-13-2019, 08:12 AM
DrCube is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Caseyville, IL
Posts: 7,382
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post

1. How many years of HS math were you required to have?

2. How many years of HS math do you think we should require?

3. Would you prefer HS students take more practical math courses like financial math over math with more scientific applications like geometry?
1. I was required to have 4 years of math, in Illinois in the late 90s.

2. I think students should take 4 years of math. But more should be available. No reason an interested student shouldn't be able to take multiple math courses per semester.

3. Calculation courses should be separate from math courses. Math isn't calculation. Math is how you figure out what to calculate. And finance isn't math either. It is still a good idea to teach it, though.
  #60  
Old 06-13-2019, 08:28 AM
Jasmine's Avatar
Jasmine is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 1,972
I think there should be 3 years of math, but the emphasis should be put on "business math" and "probability and statistics". No one, and I mean NO ONE, who is not involved in a math intensive or science field, ever uses their Algebra much less Calculus. We do, however, use business related math.
__________________
"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge."
--Daniel J Boorstin
  #61  
Old 06-13-2019, 10:14 AM
naita is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Norway
Posts: 6,423
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasmine View Post
I think there should be 3 years of math, but the emphasis should be put on "business math" and "probability and statistics". No one, and I mean NO ONE, who is not involved in a math intensive or science field, ever uses their Algebra much less Calculus. We do, however, use business related math.
You can't do probability and statistics without the basic tools of math, the tools named after an ancient math book in arabic, the mysterious ways of "Algebra".
  #62  
Old 06-13-2019, 10:25 AM
pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 47,245
Weird. I haven't found much everyday use for calculus, but I feel like I'm solving equations reasonably regularly, and I have nothing to do with a math or science field. (Hell, we even used trig a few weeks ago to estimate the altitude of a landing airplane based on how far we were away from the airport and a 3 degree glide slope, but, I admit, that is a bit of a niche use.)

Last edited by pulykamell; 06-13-2019 at 10:26 AM.
  #63  
Old 06-13-2019, 11:14 AM
Jragon's Avatar
Jragon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Miskatonic University
Posts: 10,556
The issue with dealing with probability before calc is that a lot of the sausage making in probability relies on calc. Same issue with high school physics, honestly.

From experience and the experiences of my friends, we lost most of the more advanced high school math-based stuff from stats and/or physics because it's this rapidfire of equations and special cases without much to relate it to anything or ground or explain it.

For me physics was a slap dash array of arbitrary equations and situations that were incredibly difficult to understand or motivate because I didn't even have the tool of an integral/derivative for linear equations which makes basic kinematics way easier. Obviously there are limits here, I'm not saying we need to get everyone bootstrapped with quantum probability and teach physics from some absurd interpretation of "derivation from first principles", but it's hard to retain things when it's just a mapping of situation->process.

Similar with probability and statistics. Admittedly I opted for a different course than stats in high school, so I didn't actually have any real exposure to probability before having calculus, so I'm going to qualify that clearly I was introduced in a way heavier way than a lot of people which may be causing my incredulity here. That said, I'm not entirely sure how you motivate a great deal of things, especially some really fundamental distributions without at least having people comfortable with limits. You can cover Bayes Theorem, I guess, and possibly probabilistic graphical models like Bayesian Networks and inference algorithms, but I feel like even that'd fall apart without some prerequisite knowledge in algorithmic thinking.

Honestly, the issue with a lot of high school math isn't it being useless, or even useless until you're well into a STEM degree, it's that they spend a lot of time spinning wheels teaching things in a vacuum. I remember spending entire units in multiple different courses on domain/codomain/image/preimage stuff and... I... have... no... idea... why? We never used it except to answer questions based on it. It's not even a particularly useless concept, it's basically what you're thinking about when you write a single simple function in a programming language, hell, when you have a system process to change one thing to another set of things in real life. But instead we focus on like... equations to transform the reals into the reals missing one or two elements? I don't get the motivation, it's so bizarre.

I remember when we were learning solving systems of equations we took a jaunt into learning about matrices and RREF, and then were forced to answer some questions on the test using by reducing a matrix to RREF. It was... bizarre? It's just completely contextless and surreal without any foundation even 2 weeks in linear algebra can give you. And no linear algebra course assumes you've heard of RREF before. I guess at least if you figure it out you realize your calculator can solve systems of equations really easily with RREF.

I think this is why quadratics sticks for so many people, because you actually use quadratics to reinforce other things you do, and because you have the foundation to largely understand and even prove some of the closed form equations. Like one of the first closed form equation derivations most students see is using completing the square to get the quadratic equation.

I don't know what I'm getting at with all this, but I guess it just seems to me that the issue isn't the math people learn, it's that there's a peculiar foundation of lack of reinforcement and lack of underlying knowledge that makes math feel like spinning your wheels. So many things you never use for anything, even within the rest of your high school math career, and so many contextless magic incantations you don't have the knowledge to understand the context of. Obviously this will always be the case somewhat, again, I don't want everyone to learn things from first principles, but the curriculum design for math has always just felt really uneven and I think that contributes to the problem more than the math not always having immediately obvious everyday applications per se.
  #64  
Old 06-13-2019, 11:46 AM
Motorgirl is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Boston Metro
Posts: 4,368
1. How many years of HS math were you required to have?
3, and pass the Regents exam in all 3 to get a NYS Regents diploma (as opposed to the "local" diploma handed out by the school)
I, however, took 5 years, starting in 8th grade.

2. How many years of HS math do you think we should require?
3 - but there should be more kinds of math class available. Including applied math, and multiple years of lower-level or remedial math in order to enable kids who are not great at math or who don't plan to go onto college to retain basic math skills at least until they graduate.

3. Would you prefer HS students take more practical math courses like financial math over math with more scientific applications like geometry?
I would prefer that HS students have the option to take classes to learn math that they will have practical need for now and later in life. Some students will also want/need trig, calculus, etc.
  #65  
Old 06-13-2019, 11:50 AM
Motorgirl is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Boston Metro
Posts: 4,368
To follow up: I don't use trig or calculus at all anymore, but regularly use algebra, geometry, probability and logic in my personal life. Less so at work. Stats would be a better thing for me to know at work than most of the math I learned in HS. (I didn't take stats in college so that lack is all on me!)
  #66  
Old 06-13-2019, 01:21 PM
RickJay is online now
Charter Jays Fan
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Oakville, Canada
Posts: 41,233
Quote:
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.
Who the heck has a checkbook to balance anymore? Hell, I don't have any checks.

Furthermore, how does basic math not teach you to balance a checkbook if you need to do that? Surely someone with a decent grasp of basic arithmetic can figure it out on their own?
__________________
Providing useless posts since 1999!
  #67  
Old 06-13-2019, 03:17 PM
Thudlow Boink's Avatar
Thudlow Boink is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Lincoln, IL
Posts: 26,861
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
Furthermore, how does basic math not teach you to balance a checkbook if you need to do that?
You might have to use integrals to find its center of mass.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:45 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017