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kathym

Frustrated son wants to use calculators and seems lazy

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Hmmm, calculators are allowed in college classes in NM. I guess it matters where you are.

 

I think it matters which class you are in. The last time I saw a statistic on it (this would have been a couple years ago when my oldest was a senior) 65% of college math professors required at least a portion of their class grades completed without a calculator. The most popular trend seemed to be doing certain problems without a calculator to ensure knowledge of the concepts, then doing certain problems with the calculator to ensure knowledge of technology.

 

At our high school, College Alg students can use a calculator to check their work, but they must show the actual work on paper or they don't get credit. This is somewhat variable. Square roots are allowed to be done on the calculator. Matrix manipulation must be showed on paper - step by step - even if they used their calculator to check their answer.

 

Of course, we also are trying to teach them the concepts so they can look at the calculator answer and see if it's reasonable or not. Sometimes they use the calculator improperly (forgetting parentheses is a biggie!).

 

Short of a learning disability, I would want any student of mine to know their facts. If nothing else, it helps to increase their adult brain capacity (see recent thread on teen IQ).

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ETA: Because it fits this topic: today I had not one, but several students, all science majors, get a multiple choice answer wrong because they calculated (1/4) squared and got 1/8. Very basic math facts...

 

Rgentrude, I just want to let you know, I read some of your posts aloud to my 11 YO wanna-be engineer daughter, and I really owe you some thanks. *I* can tell her she needs to study hard so she will be prepared for college, but your little stories impress her a LOT more than anything I could say. thanks!! :)

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I would say that quality but not quantity will work in most subjects' date=' but in math, as has been pointed out by several others, quantity is equally important as it's through the repeated working of problems that they become easy and second nature. For a good grasp of math later on, there needs to be a strong foundation. Don't skimp. Even if she only makes it through algebra, she can always pick up where she left off in cc.[/quote']

 

 

My daughter wailed throughout elementary math because I kept having her practice and practice and practice her math. She complained, "I know how to do this." But, I knew she needed to be able to do it "in her sleep." Now she sees the benefit. :lol:

 

A friend whose child is in public elementary told me they use Everyday Math, and started using calculators in 2nd or 3rd grade - for things like long division. :blink:

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My son was not allowed to use a calculator in some of his engineering classes because the teacher wanted to know that they could do the math--i.e. calculus I. You should have seen his homework pages (and pages and pages).

 

My other son, however, is slightly dyslexic. He is the kid who use to have 3 thoughts in his head and he'd write the 1st and the 3rd and skip the 2nd. In composition class, this makes for curious reading. In math class, this gets the wrong answer! I found that if I let him use his calculator, he did less mental computation and ended up with a lot fewer incorrect answers, so I let him start with the calculator earlier than my other kids. He's not planning for an engineering degree, so I think we'll be O.K. here. :)

 

Just thought I'd throw another ingredient into the pot.

 

:D Jean

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In ps, they want the kids to be tech savvy. So, they use calculators early on. I like the graphing calculators for simple conversions and getting a good look at what graphs of equations look like. I'm not sure that they truly provide a "solution" to all types of math problems. I try to assign problems that require equation manipulation and simplification on paper and some that require taking a closer look at how the math operates in a graphical way (changing curves, mapping functions). I think if you balance assignments this way, you can give the kid a good workout and have it not be tedious.

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My son was not allowed to use a calculator in some of his engineering classes because the teacher wanted to know that they could do the math--i.e. calculus I. You should have seen his homework pages (and pages and pages).

 

This, and there is another reason for not allowing calculators on tests: with modern calculators, there is absolutely no way to police what kind of material the student has stored in the memory. The student may have put in the solutions to every single homework problem. Add to that the sophistication of electronic communication devices, and you have absolutely no control over the materials the students use on tests, and whether they communicate.

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This, and there is another reason for not allowing calculators on tests: with modern calculators, there is absolutely no way to police what kind of material the student has stored in the memory. The student may have put in the solutions to every single homework problem. Add to that the sophistication of electronic communication devices, and you have absolutely no control over the materials the students use on tests, and whether they communicate.

 

We do let students use calculators on tests, but they're restricted to a basic scientific model with a non-text display.

 

It is very, very common at universities to either disallow calculators or to disallow graphing calculators because of the potential for cheating.

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It matters a great deal if the adult is trying to pass a university science or mathematics class... not just if he wants to become an engineer or a scientists, but also a doctor, a pharmacist or even a veterinarian: if you don't know your math facts without a calculator, you won't pass the college physics class that is required to get into vet school... just saying. And the pharmacist even has to take calculus based physics...no calculators there either.

 

So, there are plenty of young adults who are, permit my language, screwed because they have been told they won't need to be able to do math without a calculator. I have several of them in my classes every semester.

 

ETA: Because it fits this topic: today I had not one, but several students, all science majors, get a multiple choice answer wrong because they calculated (1/4) squared and got 1/8. Very basic math facts...

 

*Some* community college placement tests are taken without the help of a calculator.

 

For practical application' date=' there are cashiers who can't figure out the correct change if they're given additional money after the register has already calculated the change. For those who are calculator dependent, it's hard to even estimate what a reasonable answer should be for basic math calculations.

 

That's not to say that some who can't do the basic math without a calculator can't succeed in math or related fields, but I wouldn't want to transition students to complete calculator usage. Not having their times table memorized will make working with fractions very difficult in the higher math. To the best of my knowledge, calculators can multiply, but they don't factor. Even if they do, it would be a lengthy process to use the calculator for each problem involving fractions.[/quote']

 

:svengo:

 

I guess it matters as much as being able to

*estimate what a bill at check-out should be or

*the tip I need to leave or

*what percentage is my share in group earnings or

*whether I am being over-charged or

*how to determine how much of something I might need purchase if I only need a fractional amt.......

 

I cannot imagine needing to use a calculator to perform such basic math functions that are so elementary in nature.

 

I guess I want to my kids to know how do that (and way more) as much as I want them to understand what is meant if someone makes a comment about someone's behavior being like Regan's vs. Cordelia's. Some things simply define being educated. Why read classical literature over pop fiction? Why learn most of what we want our children to learn?

 

What they said.

 

And here's one more: A child might grow up to be a homeschooling parent. Surely nobody would argue that it is fine for a homeschooling Mom to not know her math facts.

 

(Would they?)

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And here's one more: A child might grow up to be a homeschooling parent. Surely nobody would argue that it is fine for a homeschooling Mom to not know her math facts.

(Would they?)

 

Actually, some would.

Have you seen the math poll on the General board? The majority of homeschooling moms on this forum can not do order of operations. But what is even scarier: some argue that it has not relevant for "real" life.

:banghead:

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The majority of homeschooling moms on this forum can not do order of operations. But what is even scarier: some argue that it has not relevant for "real" life.

:banghead:

Are you kidding? :001_huh:

 

Maybe people thought it was a stupid poll and joked?

 

One could not seriously believe so, could one?

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Actually, some would.

Have you seen the math poll on the General board? The majority of homeschooling moms on this forum can not do order of operations. But what is even scarier: some argue that it has not relevant for "real" life.

:banghead:

 

I found that thread frightening.

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Are you kidding? :001_huh:

 

Maybe people thought it was a stupid poll and joked?

 

One could not seriously believe so, could one?

 

It did not sound like joking. One poster argued:

Order of operations is "important" in school but there are few practical applications.

 

while several others insist that the people who got it correct should show their work because they don't believe them otherwise.

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Actually, some would.

Have you seen the math poll on the General board? The majority of homeschooling moms on this forum can not do order of operations. But what is even scarier: some argue that it has not relevant for "real" life.

:banghead:

 

Are you kidding? :001_huh:

 

Maybe people thought it was a stupid poll and joked?

 

One could not seriously believe so, could one?

 

I saw that. I'm sure, Ester Maria, that many really didn't know.

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Actually, some would.

Have you seen the math poll on the General board? The majority of homeschooling moms on this forum can not do order of operations. But what is even scarier: some argue that it has not relevant for "real" life.

:banghead:

 

Oh my word!!

 

Are you kidding? :001_huh:

 

Maybe people thought it was a stupid poll and joked?

 

One could not seriously believe so, could one?

 

I can't imagine!!

 

I found that thread frightening.

 

Add another reason to why I don't read the GB. :iagree:, EKS, I find that incredibly frightening. I have a few thoughts, but I think I better keep them to myself!! :tongue_smilie:

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Consolation? Just a little? Our public school teachers don't know their basic math facts, either. So if our homeschool mommies aren't cut out for the job, their children might not be better off going to school to learn math.

 

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/x-equals-why/2009/05/aspiring_elementary_teachers_f.html (sample problems included)

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/feb/14/primary-teachers-fail-maths-tests not just in the USA

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I saw that. I'm sure, Ester Maria, that many really didn't know.

I just checked the general board to see what it was about - at first when Regentrude brought it up I thought it was a poll about math relevance, not about an actual demonstration of the basic math skills.

 

Looking at the results, I am still having a hard time believing people were for real. :confused: Off to read the thread.

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You should also pray your carpenter knows basic math, otherwise that estimate you received may be WAY off. My dh has seen it many times in his years in the industry.

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You should also pray your carpenter knows basic math, otherwise that estimate you received may be WAY off. My dh has seen it many times in his years in the industry.

 

DH has no electrician apprentices in training right now. Everyone that tried to get into the program this year washed out, due to poor math skills or poor working skills.

 

If they can't use higher math instantly and perfectly, and they can't anticipate what is needed without being told, they can't be electricians. They have to be mathematically adept, physically strong, and creative as problem-solvers.

 

His local union had a big meeting about the problem this fall. They don't think they'll have enough qualified electricians to replace retiring Baby Boomers. Math is the main issue.

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Consolation? Just a little? Our public school teachers don't know their basic math facts, either. So if our homeschool mommies aren't cut out for the job, their children might not be better off going to school to learn math.

 

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/x-equals-why/2009/05/aspiring_elementary_teachers_f.html (sample problems included)

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/feb/14/primary-teachers-fail-maths-tests not just in the USA

 

The test mentioned in the first article is great! Here's the link for the test itself:

 

http://www.mtel.nesinc.com/PDFs/MA_FLD003_SubtestII_PRACTICE_TEST.pdf

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Okay, back.

 

I guess I stand corrected and people were for real. :confused:

 

Still, out of 160ish....

 

- for 30, it was a lapsus (they wanted to vote 14, but accidently pressed the wrong field - happens);

- another 30 had just woken up / were too tired and hallucinated parentheses or by the time they reached the end of the line they forgot there were none, so basically they had a good thing in mind, too bad it did not correspond to a reality;

- another 30 had just woken up / were too tired and were utterly confused, got the answer correctly, but were so utterly confused that they thought it was a trick question, so they voted 0 against their inclination, because their minds were too foggy to go over it and make sure it is not a trick question;

- another 30 just plain benevolently JOKED;

- another 30 MALICIOUSLY joked, i.e. plain SABOTAGED the poll;

- so 10ish people were actually convinced that it was 0, but then again, you would find a certain percentage of people getting it genuinely wrong on whatever "basic knowledge" question you can think of, because that is just how it is

 

I am not counting those who voted for other numbers, the minus was sneaky. Maybe if we put the situation that way it explains? I mean really, in moments of disorientation / confusion / hurry, I said unimaginably stupid things too, and I know very well that *I* get an evil little impulse to sabotage now and then when I see what I interpret as a stupid question, so I can understand a moment of childish joke too.

 

Yeah, this makes more sense now. I managed to rationalize it. :D

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I just checked the general board to see what it was about - at first when Regentrude brought it up I thought it was a poll about math relevance, not about an actual demonstration of the basic math skills.

 

Looking at the results, I am still having a hard time believing people were for real. :confused: Off to read the thread.

 

If we were really brave we would post more polls concerning basic skills. Not just math, either. History, science, logic...

 

A few months ago, Ria wondered how we could 'light the fire' for up-and-coming homeschoolers, or how all of us could stay motivated to do a stellar job as teachers.

 

I think frequent polls of this nature might just be the ticket. Each person voting is forced to see herself truly in such a thread.

 

As I pointed out upthread, our schoolteachers don't score very well on tests of basic skills. But if we are homeschooling to provide a better education than our children would receive at school, we have to do the work to know more than our local schoolteachers know.

 

We don't have some inner light, some innate superior knowledge that comes just from rightly evaluating the poor quality of the local school. If our school is to be better, we have to really know what we're doing. We have to make it better.

 

And we don't always know that we're ignorant, because we got all A's in high school and college. When will we learn that high grades mean nothing in poor institutions?

 

Content. We need to discuss actual content. We need to stop comparing ourselves to ourselves in this nation and begin comparing ourselves to a better standard.

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Okay, back.

 

I guess I stand corrected and people were for real. :confused:

 

Still, out of 160ish....

 

- for 30, it was a lapsus (they wanted to vote 14, but accidently pressed the wrong field - happens);

- another 30 had just woken up / were too tired and hallucinated parentheses or by the time they reached the end of the line they forgot there were none, so basically they had a good thing in mind, too bad it did not correspond to a reality;

- another 30 had just woken up / were too tired and were utterly confused, got the answer correctly, but were so utterly confused that they thought it was a trick question, so they voted 0 against their inclination, because their minds were too foggy to go over it and make sure it is not a trick question;

- another 30 just plain benevolently JOKED;

- another 30 MALICIOUSLY joked, i.e. plain SABOTAGED the poll;

- so 10ish people were actually convinced that it was 0, but then again, you would find a certain percentage of people getting it genuinely wrong on whatever "basic knowledge" question you can think of, because that is just how it is

 

I am not counting those who voted for other numbers, the minus was sneaky. Maybe if we put the situation that way it explains? I mean really, in moments of disorientation / confusion / hurry, I said unimaginably stupid things too, and I know very well that *I* get an evil little impulse to sabotage now and then when I see what I interpret as a stupid question, so I can understand a moment of childish joke too.

 

Yeah, this makes more sense now. I managed to rationalize it. :D

 

:lol: You are so right. We're all fine. (I especially love the hallucinations about parentheses.)

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:lol: You are so right. We're all fine. (I especially love the hallucinations about parentheses.)

It cannot be that 160 people got it wrong.

 

Seriously.

 

People joked / sabotaged / were confused / answered while toddler chasing / SOMETHING.

 

It can be that a dozen people (with the current numbers) got it wrong, it is statistically expectable. Not 160. This is early elementary content. It just cannot be.

 

When you have a MAJORITY failing on a banal question, does it not make more sense to assume a conspiracy, a joke, or something like that?

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It cannot be that 160 people got it wrong.

 

Seriously.

 

People joked / sabotaged / were confused / answered while toddler chasing / SOMETHING.

 

It can be that a dozen people (with the current numbers) got it wrong, it is statistically expectable. Not 160. This is early elementary content. It just cannot be.

 

When you have a MAJORITY failing on a banal question, does it not make more sense to assume a conspiracy, a joke, or something like that?

 

Didn't you share with us that Italian schools hire teachers who are highly qualified in the material they teach? People with math degrees teach grammar school math, for example?

 

That just isn't true here. :( We were not taught by experts, so we are not proficient.

 

Quite seriously, if you polled us on grammar-stage basic skills you would probably get similar results in every area.

 

Ask us to name the major rivers of the United States. Ask us if the Civil War came before or after the Spanish American War. Ask us to name all 10 Commandments, or to choose the correct definitions of transitive and intransitive verbs. Ask us which four Presidents are carved on Mt. Rushmore, and the name of the sculptor and what state he was from. (Gutzon Borglum, Nebraska. LOL)

 

Some of us will know, because we did the work to learn it before teaching our own. Those just beginning their homeschool journey will have no idea. Some will say, "I never heard the word 'intransitive' in my life, and I have a degree in English and communications.' I promise! Happens every time.

 

They need to choose whether they'll pass on a slipshod approach to learning or whether they will study and know what they are teaching.

 

I chose the latter, and I don't regret it. I hope anyone reading understands that it matters, it is possible, and you only have to stay one semester ahead of your oldest child. The big rewards come when you begin homeschooling your youngest child, actually knowing what you are doing. That is worth every late night spent rocking the baby and gabbling over grammar.

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Quite seriously, if you polled us on grammar-stage basic skills you would probably get similar results in every area.

 

Ask us to name the major rivers of the United States. Ask us if the Civil War came before or after the Spanish American War. Ask us to name all 10 Commandments, or to choose the correct definitions of transitive and intransitive verbs. Ask us which four Presidents are carved on Mt. Rushmore, and the name of the sculptor and what state he was from.

 

You want to know something really sad?

I've had a number of students in my cc classes who don't know how many states there are in the US. I've even had students argue with me about the answer.

 

I'm not surprised by the general board poll results - or, unfortunately, the commentary. Sad, but not surprised.

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It cannot be that 160 people got it wrong.

 

Seriously.

 

People joked / sabotaged / were confused / answered while toddler chasing / SOMETHING.

 

It can be that a dozen people (with the current numbers) got it wrong, it is statistically expectable. Not 160. This is early elementary content. It just cannot be.

 

When you have a MAJORITY failing on a banal question, does it not make more sense to assume a conspiracy, a joke, or something like that?

 

No. I've been watching the conversations going on for some time, both here and on facebook.

 

There are many people who thought it was a trick and answered 0. There are people who are utterly and totally convinced that you only have order of operations when you have parentheses involved and otherwise you just move left to right. Enough people have even told me that they were specifically told this by their teachers in elementary school that I am willing to concede the possibility, especially since I have directly and personally seen the math skills of many future elementary educators.

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I'm not surprised by the general board poll results - or, unfortunately, the commentary. Sad, but not surprised.

 

What surprises and pleases me about the conversation here as opposed to facebook is that there are far fewer people vehemently defending their answer of 0.

 

Confusion, yes, but not vehement denial.

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Didn't you share with us that Italian schools hire teachers who are highly qualified in the material they teach? People with math degrees teach grammar school math, for example?

Well, to be perfectly honest, it is actually more complex and nuanced than what I presented, but for obvious reasons (of length) I have to chop off some of those explanations and simplify things a bit. Grammar school is tricky and actually moving towards a more universal system of a single class teacher (as opposed to what you are saying here and how it used to be / still is somewhere; not sure of what are the exact equivalent qualifications and exams one has to make up for this way?), etc., but in principle, the system as a whole and especially its higher ends are characterized by far more "professionalism".

 

IMO, it does not take a math major for an optimal learning experience of what was in that poll - but it does take a math major for an optimal learning experience of middle and high school math (speaking of the institutional context, of course). As long as they do not replace field professionals* on those levels, especially on the high school level, we are good. But possibly because I just take for granted that anyone can teach elementary school.

 

* I am almost laughing while writing this since the university reform quite messed up things. But okay, SOME kind of more than general and more than vague "experts" they will be... I hope.

 

I guess I just take too many things for granted.

 

I do not doubt about the other questions you mention, but those boarder trivia, i.e. they are not skill-based. I am "okay" - I mean, NOT okay, but more okay, relatively speaking - with people forgetting some of the INFO, but elementary skills should be rock solid throughout lifetime - that is why they are drilled so well and so thoroughly in the early years, and repeated on more advanced content in the upper years. So, fine, you may forget calculus - but you cannot "forget" that you multiply before you add. Or you can? I mean, I do not know what would it take for me to forget that and I am not exceptionally good at math nor do I exceptionally care about it. You may even forget what some basic formula such v=s/t is about, but you cannot "forget" how to manipulate a formula to extract the t, because that is a skill learned very early. If it is not learned well at the early stages of education, HOW do people get into the upper stages in the first place? How do people finish elementary school, pass middle school exams, high school exams, fulfill college requirements? In all of those classes these rules are applied.

 

Okay, maybe somebody genuinely forgot if they never SAW anything mathy after school - use it or lose it. But on a homeschool forum? Unlikely.

 

Which is why I thought, people are either joking, or they answered it in some crazy circumstances, or just had a stupid moment (we all said stupid stuff) - but I am finding it hard to believe that many genuinely did not know.

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You may even forget what some basic formula such v=s/t is about, but you cannot "forget" how to manipulate a formula to extract the t, because that is a skill learned very early.

 

I think if somebody really, truly understood what v=s/t is about, namely that speed simply means a distance traveled divided by the time it takes, he can not possibly forget. Because then, he would not have to "memorize a formula", but just to recall what the word "speed" meant.

(That's what is so great about physics: there is absolutely nothing to memorize once you understood the concept. I always found that appealing.)

 

Unfortunately, there are people who never understand how to manipulate a formula, something as simple as ax+b=c. For them, there is not ONE kind of linear equations with one unknown, but so many different kinds: there can be a factor by the x, and the factor can be an integer or a fraction and can be positive or negative, and there may be x's on both sides, and the constant may be positive or negative and integer or fraction... and they end up memorizing separate cooking recipes for every.single.variant instead of understanding once and for all how to manipulate an equation. And I am not kidding; DD is tutoring her friend in algebra and the friend seems to be operating exactly like I described.

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Because then, he would not have to "memorize a formula", but just to recall what the word "speed" meant.

(That's what is so great about physics: there is absolutely nothing to memorize once you understood the concept. I always found that appealing.)

We were allowed to "invent" our formulae if we got stuck :tongue_smilie: (I do the same with my kids), exactly for this reason: if you understand the relations between things, it does not matter what you call it, what letter or symbol you use (though in the end those had to be learned for the sake of knowing the conventional symbols). So if you get stuck, the point is not trying to recall a formula, but simply thinking about the relations between the things and how you would put it in writing. I think the insistence on that helped us a lot in the long run.

 

We also had to derive EVERY formula we were to use in the beginning Physics lessons, because they wanted to know we could derive it and we knew what we were doing, not just memorizing.

I am sure there was still a certain percentage of kids who memorized the whole process - the same ones who memorized Logic tables - though. Until I started teaching I thought that deriving and manipulating was absolutely pointless, but then it dawned to me why it was pedagogically a good thing because it discouraged rote memorization without understanding what was behind the formula.

 

I do know what you are talking about, though. I know some people who were really shocked as adults when math FINALLY started making sense to them, because for the first time they saw actual PROOFS of the formulae they had been drilled without proper understanding when they were younger. And some others, to whom math never made sense in the first place BECAUSE they were not given formal proofs, just the final formula, without the background.

 

So I guess I should not be so surprised. :001_huh: But for some reason it still surprises me.

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Actually, some would.

Have you seen the math poll on the General board? The majority of homeschooling moms on this forum can not do order of operations. But what is even scarier: some argue that it has not relevant for "real" life.

:banghead:

 

I'm just now catching up on this thread and think I should probably stay away from the other one. UGH!!!

 

I could say more, but it'd probably offend too many folks.

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kiana said she saw remarks on FB from people who thought PEMDAS was only true if there were parentheses in the problem.

 

Lightbulb moment, there!

 

Think of all the math textbooks that carefully set up problems to only teach the exact thing being learned in that lesson. An example would be a long division page with no remainders, since they weren't to learn remainders until next week. Imagine that approach carried up through pre-algebra, jr. high.

 

I distinctly remember learning order of operations for the first time (really learning it) in Algebra I in 9th grade. Up until then, my math book probably only taught PEMDAS as an isolated thing, illustrated with problems containing all the elements for practice purposes. An isolated skill, rather than an integral and basic math skill.

 

Possibly I never saw an "order of operations" problem without parentheses until Algebra.

 

A generation ago, only Algebra I, II, and Geometry were required in high school. So our American adult of today might have only paid attention to order of operations in Algebra, with variables, and for only a couple of years. Especially if she didn't have a math-related career or didn't consider herself to be 'good at math.'

 

Would she know a need for PEMDAS if she met it on the street? This silly little FB gag/poll suggests that, no, we don't know when to pull out our basic math skills when we meet a math problem on the street.

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It did not sound like joking. One poster argued:

 

 

while several others insist that the people who got it correct should show their work because they don't believe them otherwise.

 

And this would be why colleges want outside confirmation of mommy grades instead of just accepting a transcript.

 

Of course, one could argue that outside confirmation of ps transcripts would be helpful too...

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Up until then, my math book probably only taught PEMDAS as an isolated thing, illustrated with problems containing all the elements for practice purposes. An isolated skill, rather than an integral and basic math skill.

This is just plain CRIMINAL. Cheating children, lulling them into false security and underestimating them BIG TIME. :banghead:

 

I do not get why I am so surprised. After all, I did see textbooks like that, or like TERC. I *know*, intellectually, how bad things are supposed to be - but it still gets me when I read experiences like yours.

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kiana said she saw remarks on FB from people who thought PEMDAS was only true if there were parentheses in the problem.

 

Lightbulb moment, there!

 

Think of all the math textbooks that carefully set up problems to only teach the exact thing being learned in that lesson. An example would be a long division page with no remainders, since they weren't to learn remainders until next week. Imagine that approach carried up through pre-algebra, jr. high.

 

I distinctly remember learning order of operations for the first time (really learning it) in Algebra I in 9th grade. Up until then, my math book probably only taught PEMDAS as an isolated thing, illustrated with problems containing all the elements for practice purposes. An isolated skill, rather than an integral and basic math skill.

 

Possibly I never saw an "order of operations" problem without parentheses until Algebra.

 

A generation ago, only Algebra I, II, and Geometry were required in high school. So our American adult of today might have only paid attention to order of operations in Algebra, with variables, and for only a couple of years. Especially if she didn't have a math-related career or didn't consider herself to be 'good at math.'

 

Would she know a need for PEMDAS if she met it on the street? This silly little FB gag/poll suggests that, no, we don't know when to pull out our basic math skills when we meet a math problem on the street.

 

Yes. Exactly. This.

 

It's just like how people want to put biology, chemistry, physics, algebra, geometry in little separate boxes. Apply geometry? AND algebra? In PHYSICS?! And then apply physics to chemistry and chemistry to biology? You gotta be kidding me! I just want to know the formula!

 

Honestly if I were writing a math curriculum (which I'm not) order of ops would be introduced (in the multiply, then add) form almost as soon as multiplication was introduced, and practiced in every stinking lesson after that. Because it's one of the foundational principles that you CANNOT go past beginner's math until you master, and it's a skill. Yes, really it is. Learning it well enough that you have not just memorized it but INTERNALIZED it and apply it automatically and without even thinking to any sort of problem you meet is a skill.

 

Just like learning to read well enough that you apply principles to decode words instead of laboriously sounding out c-a-t ... cat every time is a skill.

 

Someone who still has to stop and write down PEMDAS on every page is still at the sounding-out-words stage of arithmetical fluency imo.

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Honestly if I were writing a math curriculum (which I'm not) order of ops would be introduced (in the multiply, then add) form almost as soon as multiplication was introduced, and practiced in every stinking lesson after that.

You mean it is NOT introduced then?!?!

 

I thought it was a second grade thing?!?! :001_huh: Which only gets expanded later as you study exponents, etc? But in its basic form, that it IS a second grade thing?

 

ETA: Why are parents of PSed children not actively complaining about this nonsense, if it is so widespread?

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You mean it is NOT introduced then?!?!

 

I thought it was a second grade thing?!?! :001_huh: Which only gets expanded later as you study exponents, etc? But in its basic form, that it IS a second grade thing?

 

Ray's Arithmetic, first published in 1834, properly teaches order of operations (and the real concepts behind the four basic operations) in first and second grade.

 

Rod and Staff Arithmetic (homeschool and Mennonite schools) introduces order of operations in grade 7.

 

Horizons math (homeschool and private Christian schools): grade 6

 

Math Mammoth (homeschool, by Maria Miller, a 'conceptual' program): grade 5

 

I think the reason American math doesn't teach order of operations until third grade or beyond is that the students only learn addition and subtraction first. They start with simple multiplication and memorizing x tables in third grade.

 

I used Ray's Primary Arithmetic for all of my boys at the beginning. They learned their number bonds and basic operations inside and out before doing anything else. It was all mental, using lots of manipulatives, and very fun.

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You mean it is NOT introduced then?!?!

 

I thought it was a second grade thing?!?! :001_huh: Which only gets expanded later as you study exponents, etc? But in its basic form, that it IS a second grade thing?

 

ETA: Why are parents of PSed children not actively complaining about this nonsense, if it is so widespread?

 

Some introduce it earlier than others.

 

It's in 3rd grade in math mammoth, which I like very much... (or at least it's on their end of year test).

 

But I've tutored students who were in pre-algebra and just learning it for the first time.

 

Parents DO actively complain, and they get told to shut up and let the professional educators handle etc. A lot of them just send the kids to Kumon instead.

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It's in 3rd grade in math mammoth, which I like very much... (or at least it's on their end of year test).

 

 

You're right. I just found "order of operations" in semester 1 of grade 3. pdf (I love Math Mammoth. It is a perfect fit for #4 son.)

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Are you kidding? :001_huh:

 

Maybe people thought it was a stupid poll and joked?

 

One could not seriously believe so, could one?

 

I got it wrong because I didn't look at it closely. I understand order of operations with no problem, but to me it *was* just a stupid poll, so I took a quick glance and voted. I was wrong - who cares, really? I am doing way more complicated math studying for the CPA exam.:tongue_smilie:

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I constantly forget about the lack of unifying standards - I think this is at the core of my surprise that it can be a 2nd or a 7th grade thing, depending on the curriculum. So, barring a few exceptions, I suppose I may not have seen the most drastic examples, especially in this camp as it was not something I was specifically interested in (I did more job comparing things and approaches when it comes to humanities). Honestly math is one of those things I never thought about too much. Even if I saw something brought up quite "late" in the process, I guess I wrote it off as a repetition. Until now, I do not think it would have even crossed my mind that it might not be a repetition if I saw it in a 6th grade textbook.

 

What you are describing though is a different thing from what I know. I am trying to picture what it would be like, learning math without the concept of order of operations until 6th grade, and I cannot even imagine it. I cannot imagine assignments, homeworks, types of problems, nothing, because this is such a basic thing that I always took for granted.

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I think it's important to remember that each of us have our strengths and weaknesses. Yes, math is important and yes it should be taught well. But at the same time, it is only one question which is designed to be tricky.

 

You know how many stupid things I do in life where someone else could easily say "I can't believe you don't know ..."? Besides, what's more important than how we do on any test is how well our children do. And there's a whole lot that's way more important than that in life too. JMO

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Actually, some would.

Have you seen the math poll on the General board? The majority of homeschooling moms on this forum can not do order of operations. But what is even scarier: some argue that it has not relevant for "real" life.

:banghead:

 

I'm only going to quibble with one thing here. I think a large number of moms on the General board never come over to the academic boards. So it's not this forum as a whole, just the mix that frequents over there.

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I think it's important to remember that each of us have our strengths and weaknesses. Yes' date=' math is important and yes it should be taught well. But at the same time, it is only one question which is designed to be tricky.

 

You know how many stupid things I do in life where someone else could easily say "I can't believe you don't know ..."? Besides, what's more important than how we do on any test is how well our children do. And there's a whole lot that's way more important than that in life too. JMO[/quote']

 

Bravo! Thank you!

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I'm only going to quibble with one thing here. I think a large number of moms on the General board never come over to the academic boards. So it's not this forum as a whole, just the mix that frequents over there.

ITA, most of them have littles and would not have begun teaching higher math. Unless you use algebra often I think yoh are likely to forget it, especially if you have mommy or toddler brain!

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Ray's Arithmetic, first published in 1834, properly teaches order of operations (and the real concepts behind the four basic operations) in first and second grade.

 

Rod and Staff Arithmetic (homeschool and Mennonite schools) introduces order of operations in grade 7.

 

Horizons math (homeschool and private Christian schools): grade 6

 

Math Mammoth (homeschool, by Maria Miller, a 'conceptual' program): grade 5

 

I think the reason American math doesn't teach order of operations until third grade or beyond is that the students only learn addition and subtraction first. They start with simple multiplication and memorizing x tables in third grade.

 

I used Ray's Primary Arithmetic for all of my boys at the beginning. They learned their number bonds and basic operations inside and out before doing anything else. It was all mental, using lots of manipulatives, and very fun.

 

We're still teaching PEDMAS in high school here. I still have to remind my College Alg students about it often. Every time the "calculator" messes up I again have to remind the students that the calculator did the problem correctly...

 

Our district may introduce it earlier, but it's sure difficult to tell.

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Ray's Arithmetic, first published in 1834, properly teaches order of operations (and the real concepts behind the four basic operations) in first and second grade.

 

Rod and Staff Arithmetic (homeschool and Mennonite schools) introduces order of operations in grade 7.

 

Horizons math (homeschool and private Christian schools): grade 6

 

Math Mammoth (homeschool, by Maria Miller, a 'conceptual' program): grade 5

 

I think the reason American math doesn't teach order of operations until third grade or beyond is that the students only learn addition and subtraction first. They start with simple multiplication and memorizing x tables in third grade.

 

 

 

I used Ray's Primary Arithmetic for all of my boys at the beginning. They learned their number bonds and basic operations inside and out before doing anything else. It was all mental, using lots of manipulatives, and very fun.

 

 

Not accurate about Horizons Math. In the Grade 3 teacher's manual, lesson 62 has: When doing activity 4, remind the student that to simplify the expression (5x8)+(5x10) they must always work within the parenthesis first. I don't have an earlier teacher's manual to see if there is a lesson on this in grade 2.

 

ETA: This is the first lesson for this in the index of lessons and it says to remind the student, so I think it must have been introduced in 2nd grade.

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Not accurate about Horizons Math. In the Grade 3 teacher's manual, lesson 62 has: When doing activity 4, remind the student that to simplify the expression (5x8)+(5x10) they must always work within the parenthesis first. I don't have an earlier teacher's manual to see if there is a lesson on this in grade 2.

 

ETA: This is the first lesson for this in the index of lessons and it says to remind the student, so I think it must have been introduced in 2nd grade.

 

BUT, this would only teach the student that parentheses come first. We're talking about situations where the same equation would be written without parentheses (they aren't needed in it) and still do the order of operations correctly (all multiplication before addition). Personally, I think putting parentheses where they aren't needed (such as here) and solely reminding students to do parentheses first hurts more than helps in the long run. It MIGHT be good at the very beginning, but should be quickly phased out.

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BUT, this would only teach the student that parentheses come first. We're talking about situations where the same equation would be written without parentheses (they aren't needed in it) and still do the order of operations correctly (all multiplication before addition). Personally, I think putting parentheses where they aren't needed (such as here) and solely reminding students to do parentheses first hurts more than helps in the long run. It MIGHT be good at the very beginning, but should be quickly phased out.

 

I merely gave one example out of the entire program. I am not digging through the entire text to prove a point. I only have the 3rd grade books anyway. The example above shows that Horizons is teaching kids more than just how to add, subtract, mulitply and divide early on. They are beginning to learn the components to the order of operations as early as 2nd grade. I think within the following four years they have pretty much internalized it.

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