[ExI] focus

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 28 19:04:08 UTC 2018

I volunteered to help build a predator cage for a wild life rescue outfit.
I can do a bit of basic carpentry.  So I get there and there are two guys
dressed to kill in hammer belts etc.  I ask what I can do - build a door.
So I build a door.  They are standing in the middle of the area talking
about pi r squared and cubed and so on.  What does anything have to do with
circles, I think?  So I ask them what they are doing.  They want to
calculate the length of a board going from the wall to the rooftop.  So I
tell them about Pythagoras and wonder where they were in high school (and
did they get out of it?).
I learned this in 7th grade.

I guess this is common, eh?

bill w

On Tue, Aug 28, 2018 at 1:07 PM, SR Ballard <sen.otaku at gmail.com> wrote:

> Ballard wrote - Many science and math teachers will now provide formulas
> used during tests for the students instead of having them memorize what
> they are.
> My question, as always, is where are the data.  Education depts. in my
> experience, love theories and hate collecting data on them.  For all we
> know, memorizing multiplication tables is a bad idea; or it's a great
> idea.  We cannot go by what we did and how we turned out.
> Trouble is getting good data from experiments run by educators.
> bill w
> My point is not that rote memory is better. I have no idea.
> My point is that kinds are not taught how to actually figure out how to
> solve problems themselves (non-rote) or required to memorize the answer
> (rote). Even if one is inferior to the other, it’s still better than
> nothing.
> Take for example this situation:
> You need to find the area of a triangle.
> A non-rote method would be to realize that you can turn the triangle into
> a square, and then find the area of the square. (Assuming you know how to
> find the area of a square).
> A rote method would be memorizing “A=1/2(bh), where b is the width of the
> triangle, and h is the height of the triangle.”
> The method that I see often is “you take this number and put it here, that
> number and put it there, use your calculator and you’re good.” Kids don’t
> recognize the formula enough to know what goes where. They’ll for example
> put in the length of a side, because they don’t understand that the length
> of a side is not what is asked for.
> Or if, for example, given the length of the sides and their angles, cannot
> determine what base or the height are, and declare such questions
> impossible.
> Yet, somehow they get passed through pre-algebra, were getting the length
> of one side and it’s adjacent angles should provide enough information to
> determine area...
> Multi-step problems which require this type of mastery are not used,
> students are spoon fed, and they still can’t pass because they have no clue
> what is happening.
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