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  #1  
Old 12-05-2013, 08:56 PM
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Math question about teaching

Or more specifically question about how you all learned math. First let me say that I such at math. I mean seriously suck. Like if you were in the Apollo 11 capsule trying to get back to earth you would "NOT" want me calculating your re-entry trajectory. That being said I said I can at least do basic addition, subtraction, multiplication etc, sometimes even in my head.

I was wondering how folks on this forum were taught basic math in grade school. A few hundred years ago when I was of that age if you wanted to add say 89 and 16 you would write 89 and then 16 beneath the 89. Add 9 and 6 and get 7 (oops sorry, that'd be 15 ) so have a 5 under the 6, carry the 1 to he first column and add 8, 1 and 1 and get 10. Thus the answer of 105. I'd try to write it out numerically but I'm to tired to stuff around with that now.

Now my stepdaughter whose a special needs kid and despite being 12 is way behind in math, as well as many other things is being taught a method of addition that to be blunt looks utterly dumbass to me.

Instead of each number under the other they are all simply written out like a regular sentence. Such as 89 + 16 = and then by some weird rigamarole of separating the tens and ones you add them separately in columns beneath the problem and then stick em all together. So you add 80 and 10 and get 90. And you add 9 and 6 and get 15 and then you add 90 to 16 and you get 106. Seems to be massively lengthening what should be a pretty simple two column addition to me.

Needless to say with a kid that's only hardly beginning to grasp what I think of as the "traditional" method of addition having this curve ball thrown at her seems damm stupid to say the least.

What do others think?

- Peter.

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  #2  
Old 12-05-2013, 09:10 PM
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I will also say that I suck at math, especially conceptual stuff. If I can measure it or build it, I can do just fine.

My math education was mostly memorization - 4x4=16, 5x4=20, 9x8=72, etc, up to a point, say 100. Lately, working with a spreadsheet like MS Excel has sharpened my algebra skills because it basically walks you through creating a formula.

A couple tricks I use in real life for practical things are calculating tips - Say the bill is 18.00, what's 15%? Well, 15% is 10% + 5% so it's 1.80 + 90 or 2.70. 20% tips are easier, 10% + 10% or 3.60.

How about a discount? Let's say that tool you want is 30% off of $25.00. What's that? You can go 3 x 10% or 2.50 or just say 3 x 25.00, move the decimal place over one and subtract that from the price. 3 x 25 is 75.00 which is 7.50 and 25.00 - 7.50 is 17.50!

Now I get the thing about the 89 + 16 how you break it down and then add it up because that's how I do it with the tip and percent calculations but I learned using straight addition with the numbers over top of one another.

Don't know if that's what you're looking for but I hope it helps.
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  #3  
Old 12-05-2013, 09:30 PM
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Well, there's definitely something wrong with her method if the result is 106 whereas your method produces 105.

I was taught the same way you were. There are many different ways to do addition. Whatever works best for the individual is fine as far as I'm concerned. However, it seems a lot of get easily confused if taught a lot of different methods. In that case, sticking with a single simple method seems superior. I know that when I was introduced to 'New Math' in the 9th grade and was taught set theory and a variety of different bases, I was overjoyed at entering into a new and wonderful universe. I never pursued this joy in college however. I regret that.
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  #4  
Old 12-05-2013, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pj67coll View Post
89 + 16 = and then by some weird rigamarole of separating the tens and ones you add them separately in columns beneath the problem and then stick em all together. So you add 80 and 10 and get 90. And you add 9 and 6 and get 15 and then you add 90 to 16 and you get 106. - Peter.
89+16=105 so I think you ask for your money back.

But, I know what you are trying to say.

I think they should teach the distinction between math and arithmetic.
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:38 PM
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The old way is better.
What happens in teaching is some idiot comes up with some new way & its all the go for a few years until some other idiot comes up with another way. Eventually it goes full circle & they get back to teaching maths properly.
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  #6  
Old 12-05-2013, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwitchKitty View Post
89+16=105 so I think you ask for your money back.

But, I know what you are trying to say.

I think they should teach the distinction between math and arithmetic.
Hey. I said "sometimes" I even get the right answer. Seems to me what I'm ticked off at is that they appear to be putting the cart before the horse. Especially with a special needs kid, but this applies surely to anyone whose poor at any kind of numbers stuff. Wether you call it arithmetic, math, whatever. If you don't have the basics you can't do squat beyond that.

- Peter.
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  #7  
Old 12-05-2013, 10:11 PM
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Have your kids learn to play chess and they will be orders of magnitude better off with math, science, logic, problem solving, self image, respect and understanding the futurity of their actions.

89 + 16 = 90 + 15 = 100 + 5 = 105

that how I do it in my head- but I learned like you did one over the other. The above method is far faster by making it simpler. I skip the third step of my example as I know that 90+15 =105

This seems to help a bit- not as much as the infomercials proclaim. However both my sons placed in the 99% in the math FCAT in 4th and 5th grade. They both missed one question in two years of exams. I helped make school studies fun and that is very important. Chess helped the most IMHO. BTW- grade nationals are next weekend. The best 5 year old in the world plays in our local events. It's a joy to watch his games. He's tied for 55th on the best in the world in the under 7 years old list.
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  #8  
Old 12-06-2013, 12:48 AM
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I am a product of Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, class of 1975. Based on my interactions with the people who went to college with me, I believe that I had exemplary math teachers in high school.

Every kid who is able should be required to learn at least some calculus, IMHO. Calculus provides insight into so many physical processes that we see in everyday life, it should be a part of every college kid's education, IMHO.
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  #9  
Old 12-06-2013, 12:52 AM
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Well math by whatever method is better to have than not. When the so called new math arrived I stopped helping the kids with it.

I guess that was my misteak but I did not want to add any confusion to the mix. Looking back today I think new math was an attempt to formalize the mental process we tend to use consciously or unconsciously.

On the more heavy sledding in math. Even if you do not use it. Since you have been over the road before it is easier to get up to speed again if it is needed.
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  #10  
Old 12-06-2013, 01:06 AM
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My children are just starting to learn math, and whatever method your teacher is using, I'm pretty sure that mine is teaching the same thing.

I can assume one of two things:
a) The new way really does suck, and will produce students that can't do math
or:
b) the new way has some merit (some study or evidence is out there, however tenuous...), and students will learn math.

Since a) doesn't produce students that score well on standardized testing, I'm gonna go with b)

-John
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  #11  
Old 12-06-2013, 08:05 AM
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The way most of us were taught is fine, but it isn't the only method. Some kids are able to conceptualize a problem better using the method described in the OP. I use both, plus some others depending on the kid's learning style. There is no "better" method. Good teachers keep abreast of these modalities and apply them as needed.

It's pointless to keep beating a kid over the head with one method that isn't working. The result is a kid who thinks he "sucks at math".
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  #12  
Old 12-06-2013, 08:31 AM
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My older 2 kids (16 & 14) were both taught some weird lattice method that I never did figure out when they asked me for help with math. As a result, I went with the way I was taught which was the adding the columns and carrying the over the "1" for or multiplying the 1's then the 10's than the 100's etc. putting in an additional zero with each subsequent line and they caught onto that pretty well. They actually lost points on their homework for not showing their work in lattice-form.

They're both better at math than I am, although in my defense I have very little need for anything more than arithmetic and some simple algebra so most of that memory space has been replaced with slightly less useless stuff.
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  #13  
Old 12-06-2013, 08:57 AM
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I had math in school in a variety of different states in the USA and also in Cartegena Colombia. Schools varied from Montessori at the high end to piss-poor public schools at the low end. Despite the best efforts of teachers using a variety of styles and languages, I had no clue what mathematics was about until university.

Suddenly it clicked in physics class. I had a natural epiphany and I could finally solve complex problems. Damned if I can explain it. After physics I took linear algebra and DE. Difficult courses, but I UNDERSTOOD. Amazing difference. Inexplicable to this day.
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  #14  
Old 12-06-2013, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Honus View Post
Every kid who is able should be required to learn at least some calculus, IMHO. Calculus provides insight into so many physical processes that we see in everyday life, it should be a part of every college kid's education, IMHO.
That's interesting. My wife is a geologist by training and a teacher now. In her opinion calculus is useless outside of hard science and engineering and she's said often that anyone outside those fields should not not bother with it.

- Peter.
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  #15  
Old 12-06-2013, 09:09 AM
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Education and dissemination of information in this country is a joke. We have TV, cable, satellite, radio, internet, smart phones, etc, etc, etc. People spend tremendous amounts of time with this crap.

We spend trillions of dollars on health care and did you know that two thirds of elderly people are infested with demodex mites. Kinda makes you scratch your head.

Demodex - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Raising animals teaches so much.

Even if you can't do Calculus you should know what it is and the relationships it defines. People here probably won't admit it but...

Can you state the relationship between torque and horsepower?

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