Previous
Next

If math were a color, it would probably be math-colored

November 29, 2007, 2:58 pm

The Everyday Math curriculum has been rejected in the state of Texas. I’ve blogged about Everyday Math and how it attempts to teach multiplication before. But I didn’t know that it had activities like this:

A. If math were a color, it would be –, because –.

B. If it were a food, it would be –, because –.

C. If it were weather, it would be –, because –.

I’m not sure exactly what the point of an exercise like this is — perhaps the curriculum is just trying very studiously not to get too deep into mathematics itself, thereby teaching math without the social stigma of being very enthusiastic about it. Or maybe the idea is to get kids to see math from a different point of view, as a sort of oblique path through math anxiety.

Either way, it’s the wrong approach. The only way to come to terms with math, conquer math anxiety, and appreciate (and learn) the subject is… to get good at it. And that only comes by doing, lots and lots of doing. You replace practice with long division for this stuff, you’re not doing what you ought to be doing. To paraphrase what somebody said a couple of thousand years ago to a similarly math-disaffected person, there is no royal road to understanding arithmetic or algebra, no cutesy affective end-arounds to get out of the hard work of learning.

I think there could be an enormous market in coming years for “alternative” at-home math curricula to counteract the sloppy mess of “modern”, usually NSF-funded, math curricula — and those “alternatives” would look awfully similar to the math texts of the 50′s and early 60′s.

This entry was posted in Education, High school, Math, Teaching, Textbooks and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.