D’ ya want math with that?

November 8, 2011

OVERHEARD IN CLASS:  (A Sophomore) “I just had a really hard critique in art class.  Quick, someone tell me I’m pretty!”

My wife is a math teacher.

No, that’s not a punch line, it’s the absolute truth.  Andee has taught math at Gould for 19 years, so she must be pretty good at it.  I have actually watched her teach, and it’s fascinating.  She mixes numbers and letters with abandon, spouting out scholarly words like “derive” “approaches infinity”, and “answer.”  Me, not so much, although I try and understand, even today 27 years after I took my last math class.  In high school.

I teach Spanish, which is one of those “fun” subjects, and everyone loves Spanish.  Just look at the answers to my last Spanish quiz, when I asked my students to describe a class that they liked.  They said things like “I love Spanish class because the teacher is very intelligent, and looks like Antonio Banderas.”   Or  “Spanish is great because we can always get the teacher to show us pictures of Spain while he feeds us Spanish food.”  Or even “I like class Spanish because they is very goodly funny when the velociraptor went in those banana patch.”  (OK, that last one did not get full credit).

I also asked them to describe a class that they don’t like.  Curiously, they never tell me “Spanish.”  The most common answer to that one is either “Math” or “Friday night Payback study hall.”  Honestly, I don’t know what they’re talking about.  To me (says my wife), math is really about developing creative ways to look at problems.  It covers all of the basic educational goals: critical thinking, innovation, collaboration, and use of erasers.  Math is mental gymnastics, and to get the most out of yourself you need to be limber.

But math can be controversial too, so I did some extensive research (Google) into the topic and found the following video production.  I will let you all decide for yourselves.  Click below and prepare to think.

Should Math be taught in school?

 

For the record, I know more math than Antonio Banderas.

(p.s. Alec M, I DID get permission from the director of the video to repost it here)

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