Tuesday, February 19, 2008

New Math

News from the US reaches me of a revolt against trendy Math(sic) teaching. Apparently parents can't cope with the fact that their little ones are being taught differently to how they where. Anyway not of much interest in and of itself, except to add to my list of stories that prove there is nothing new in the world, as the following song written in the '60s by a Mr. Tom Lehrer proves.

PS. other stories that provide a flimsy excuse to post Tom Lehrer songs gratefully received, (although not So Long Mom (Song for World War III) if we can avoid it please Mr Putin) .


Blogger iopgod said...

From the page to of the linked article:
""How about 4 times 28?" [...] She put cubes into groups of four. A few minutes later, Audrey and Ilana used their fingers to count the groups of cubes. They arrived at 7, the correct answer. "

Now I know that I did a Mathematics degree - and hence can't count - but I always thought 4 times 28 comes to 112...


11:34 pm  
Blogger Joyce said...

...ironically, "New Math" (at least in base 10) is exactly how we were taught to do subtraction and how I still do it! Makes total sense to me. Maybe it's because I'm American, but how on earth did you learn to subtract?

The Girl

1:48 am  
OpenID j00j said...

This may well be my bias as someone who does not do well on timed standardized math tests (I can do math just fine, I just do it *slowly*), but I wonder if a part of the trend towards teaching so many shortcuts is because knowing those is what US standardized math tests tend to reward.


12:09 am  
Blogger Bernard said...

Having never done a standardized math (or indeed maths) test I can't comment, but personally my view is as long as it works does it matter?

My real argument is with these people who assume that because things were done in a certain way in their day it must be right. When/if I ever get round to doing my PhD its going to be on the myth of the golden age (which every society has).

11:26 pm  
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6:50 am  

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