Math is hard

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mrblaine

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Same. First time somebody was trash talking it and showed me how it works I said...That's how I do it in my head.

I'm not a psychologist or a neuroscientist so I don't know if we lose anything by not learning it the way we did in the early 90s, but to be frank, I barely remember doing that stuff. I struggled the last time I had to show somebody long division, and I don't remember the process for multiplying multi-digit numbers on paper at all. It's funny because I do trig, calculus, and linear algebra and convert between decimal, binary, and hex on a daily basis but I can't remember, let alone teach, how I learned to multiply on paper the way I did in when I was 9. I handle it in my head the way you describe as long as there's at least one number with no more than 2 significant digits, after that I pull out a calculator.

I wish I was able to do higher math, I'm one of those that doesn't get it and never will. My brain just doesn't work that way.
 

Apparition

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I agree with you 100%. This is what I have surmised as well. However, as you said, they’re teaching it in a very poor way. We have two kids in school right now and even with lots of explanation they are both struggling with it. When I teach them the way we learned (carry the 1) they understand much better.

Every parent I know has the same grievances, that their kids are struggling so much with the common core and they’re falling behind because of it. I talk to the teachers and they all hate it.

Everyone is in agreement (teachers and parents that I speak to at least) that what they’re trying to teach is good, but the way they’ve gone about it is lackluster at best.

I had a discussion with a relative of mine who is now retired but taught something like 4th grade math her entire career. Towards the end she taught common core. I've taken college level Calc 3 and Diff EQ so I may know some math.

My discussion with her was why don't you teach everything as money. If you can count money you'll be so far ahead in the world. Maybe the kids of the future would actually be able to make change. Common core is similar to it but not always.

I still haven't figured out some of the math my 3rd grader is doing, Her teacher is having her break down numbers with 9's, 6's and 3's instead of 10's. But to me that goes back to money, I can count in dimes easier than penny's and nickels.
 

Mike_H

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I had a discussion with a relative of mine who is now retired but taught something like 4th grade math her entire career. Towards the end she taught common core. I've taken college level Calc 3 and Diff EQ so I may know some math.

My discussion with her was why don't you teach everything as money. If you can count money you'll be so far ahead in the world. Maybe the kids of the future would actually be able to make change. Common core is similar to it but not always.

I still haven't figured out some of the math my 3rd grader is doing, Her teacher is having her break down numbers with 9's, 6's and 3's instead of 10's. But to me that goes back to money, I can count in dimes easier than penny's and nickels.

We have a base 10 number system. Why in the world would they break it down any other way? singles and twos, once you're below 10.
 

freedom_in_4low

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I wish I was able to do higher math, I'm one of those that doesn't get it and never will. My brain just doesn't work that way.

That may be the case, but I also know a handful of people that believed that about themselves until they found the right teacher or the right opportunity. Two of the smartest people I've ever met started college with remedial math courses because they didn't test well enough to even qualify for freshman level. One of them I hired out of school 12 years ago and still work with...the other was a girl I dated freshman year who ended up changing her major from architecture to mathematics and is now director level over software dev at a major oil/gas company. Both of them came from rural school systems that did them a disservice by not having the resources to prepare them for college. The coworker said he doesn't remember learning anything new in math after 7th grade.

That said, everybody has their limit and I know mine because I found it. The engineering degree, with some thoughtfully chosen electives, had me within two courses of a minor in mathematics so I figured, why the hell not? I made it about halfway through a semester of Linear Algebra (the half that I understood and still use but also was mostly just building on stuff I picked up in other classes), and then seemingly over fall break (around the time we started doing every problem with "imaginary numbers" i, or the square root of -1) it turned into gibberish and I watched my A take a gradual slide into a D over the course of 8 weeks. I needed a C to satisfy the elective requirement I was using it for, and also for the minor, plus I still had the two courses left, so it was a total loss of time and money. I took another course to replace it that sure as hell wasn't math, and I decided I didn't really need that minor and I still haven't come across an application for imaginary numbers, though I believe they might come up in electronics, maybe? It was shortly after that time that I got humbled hearing that my backwoods ex girlfriend breezed through that course on her way to a math degree.
 
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Apparition

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Both of them came from rural school systems that did them a disservice by not having the resources to prepare them for college.

Hey now, I went to a rural school and several of my teachers had PhDs allowing me to test out of a few weedout classes.

On the other hand a Nigerian guy I went to college with had taken advanced calculus in his Nigerian high school and he took all the math classes in college so he could easily pass them and maintain a high grade point.
 
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freedom_in_4low

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Hey now, I went to a rural school and several of my teachers had PhDs allowing me to test out of a few weedout classes.

On the other hand a Nigerian guy I went to college with had taken advanced calculus in his Nigerian high school and he took all the math classes in college so he could easily pass them and maintain a high grade point.

it's something that varies by state and how their school districts are structured, managed, and funded. Rural schools in Oklahoma are usually complete garbage. In Colorado, it seemed like they were often better than the city school districts. I'm not closely enough involved to understand the nuances of each state, I just know they're different, and the results are different as well.
 

reddvltj

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it's something that varies by state and how their school districts are structured, managed, and funded. Rural schools in Oklahoma are usually complete garbage. In Colorado, it seemed like they were often better than the city school districts. I'm not closely enough involved to understand the nuances of each state, I just know they're different, and the results are different as well.

Something I learned bouncing around the country over the course of my K-12 career was, with the exception of maybe CA (at the time), the further west we moved, the further behind the education level was. Moved from VA at the end of my 7th grade year to Wisconsin. The classes I took in 8th Grade in WI were nearly identical to the 7th grade classes I took in VA. In '88 when we moved from WI to WA, I was going into my Junior year and it was like I was retaking my sophomore classes.
 
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freedom_in_4low

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Something I learned bouncing around the country over the course of my K-12 career was, with the exception of maybe CA (at the time), the further west we moved, the further behind the education level was. Moved from VA at the end of my 7th grade year to Wisconsin. The classes I took in 8th Grade in WI were nearly identical to the 7th grade classes I took in VA. In '88 when we moved from WI to WA, I was going into my Junior year and it was like I was retaking my sophomore classes.

That's interesting.

I know in the two states I have lived in it basically follows the money. In Colorado the small towns I spoke of were little mountain towns, which have tons of property tax revenue. In the cities, nice areas had good schools, rough areas had bad ones. School districts were independent leading to a single high school. There were half a dozen of them in the Colorado Springs area and quality was all over the map, but fairly predictable by the median home value within the district.

Small towns in Oklahoma are almost always farm towns with populations that have been stagnant or declining since WW2. Big cities are structured as a single district so the whole cities funding seems to distribute more evenly between the poor areas and the affluent ones (note that OKC has over double the population of Colorado Springs). Metrics still vary by the same input, but not as starkly which makes me think the difference that's left might just be a result of parental education level and involvement.

I have no experience as a teacher or administrator in either of these areas, only as a student and parent. Someone who does have that experience could very well say that I'm talking out my ass, and maybe I am, or maybe they'd just be parroting the teachers union talking points.
 
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reddvltj

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That's interesting.

I know in the two states I have lived in it basically follows the money. In Colorado the small towns I spoke of were little mountain towns, which have tons of property tax revenue. In the cities, nice areas had good schools, rough areas had bad ones. School districts were independent leading to a single high school. There were half a dozen of them in the Colorado Springs area and quality was all over the map, but fairly predictable by the median home value within the district.

Small towns in Oklahoma are almost always farm towns with populations that have been stagnant or declining since WW2. Big cities are structured as a single district so the whole cities funding seems to distribute more evenly between the poor areas and the affluent ones (note that OKC has over double the population of Colorado Springs). Metrics still vary by the same input, but not as starkly which makes me think the difference that's left might just be a result of parental education level and involvement.

I have no experience as a teacher or administrator in either of these areas, only as a student and parent. Someone who does have that experience could very well say that I'm talking out my ass, and maybe I am, or maybe they'd just be parroting the teachers union talking points.

We were always in bigger cities close to military bases so it was more of an apples to apples comparison.
 
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Mike_H

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Well, ask a software person how many kids they have and they hold up five fingers and say four.
Ask a regular person the same thing and they hold up five fingers and say five.

DO NOT let software people count money for you.

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Modoc Guy

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I've never been a fan. But, after studying it some, (very casually) what I believe they are doing is trying, poorly, to teach folks how to do math the way most of us do it in our heads anyway. If someone tells you that you can buy 32 items at 16 dollars each, most of us break it down to 30 x 16 + 2 x 16 so we have an idea of the total. 30 x 16 is 3 x 160 or 480 + 32. Take 20 from 32, that makes it 500 + 12 or 512.

Or at least that is what my cursory look at what they are doing tells me.

I agree. It’s like they’re trying to teach the little tricks and cheats to get the answers easily.

The tricks work, but only if you know the basic foundations of mathematics. Which grade school children don’t know yet.

And as a blueprint drawing/reading sheet metal fabricator, their spec sheet looks like a recipe for errors.
 
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Modoc Guy

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Thinking about how the metric system would work if we adopted hex is gonna break my brain.

Decimal is kinda necessary in machining. And if I was making parts off a metric blueprint, I’d change it to inches straight away.

And I’m totally happy metric is still the unwanted stepchild of measuring in this country. I ain’t going anywhere near hex.
 
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mrblaine

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Decimal is kinda necessary in machining. And if I was making parts off a metric blueprint, I’d change it to inches straight away.
Same here. Not sure who decided to change all the brake dimensions to metric but I spend an inordinate amount of time converting to inches so I have a visual picture in my head of how things fit together.
 
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