Posted on June 26, 2017


I really do oft reflect happily about our Math courses being taught for understanding, and speculate that I’d find another job if they weren’t.

Summer courses… ugh.   Tech math so they’re allowed to use calculators for everything, including algebra problems like z/2 – 2/3 = -1/3z + 1/6 .   No, there’s no context where you’d ever use this.  No, there’s no meaning attached to any part of this.   We just have to practice entering the numbers into the fraction-capable TI-30X .   It’s not working particularly well because the symbols have no meaning, so knowing which numbers to do what with is all “what’s the rule?”  not “does that make sense?”   So when the student added the 1/3z to both sides, student then added 2/3 to *that* number, not the 1/6.   Hey, the rule is they have to be “like terms.”    I am watching learning rules not work as well as understanding… and helping the student survive the requirement instead of learning math 😦   It’s small consolation that this is a man with a great work ethic and yes, he’ll learn what he needs to learn in context, reasonably quickly…