Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hooray for New Math...

The more things change, the more they stay the same. First, a video showing the consequences of a new educational fad, the TERC Investigations math curriculum, which supposedly teaches the children why they do their math, not simply how to do the math:

Can you blame the child for being frustrated? That's just ridiculous. I do agree with the idea of teaching kids why rather than how (it's worked for me), but it's really quite easy to explain why "stacked" math works. A teacher who can't explain it to the average third grader shouldn't be teaching.

Next a video from the old "New Math" era (1960s) back when I was in elementary and junior high school. For those who don't know, Tom Lehrer was a professor of math at Hahvahd. While a true liberal of the era (which is to say, only wrong half the time), this skewering of the educational fad of the era remains priceless.

"The New Math" actually made a lot more sense than the TERC system, which basically a reversion to Roman numerals, as pointed out in a comment on the video. Change the cube to M, the square to C, etc. Where's the zero, that makes arabic numerals and standard math work? It's missing.

Found at Wizbang.

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