WitCH 69: Sines of the Times

Yet another old one, from the 2010 Specialist Exam 2 (CAS). We’ll look to semi-update with excerpts from the examination report once people have had a chance to comment. (Readers are of course free to peek at the examination report, anytime they so wish.)

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We had planned to not write about this one, dearly hoping it would quietly fade away. That was never going to happen, however, and, having made The Washington Post and the like, there’s now no purpose in not writing about it.

A few days ago, an American schoolteacher went through what was apparently her standard trigonometry routine, donning a fake Indian headdress and chanting SOHCAHTOA as a war dance, or whatever. Yes, the schoolteacher is from another era and, quite possibly, another planet. This year, however, a Native American kid in the class filmed her and then gave permission for the video to be posted on Instagram, where it appeared complete with a campaign speech, and school name and contacts. The snowball then did what snowballs do, the teacher has been suspended and so forth.

It is interesting times when a member of the Hitlerjugend is almost universally portrayed as the victim.

BIFF 2: Bob Newhart and IBM

Bob Newhart is one of the all-time great stand up comedians. He’s perfect at capturing the powerlessness of the little guy in a ludicrous world of hucksters. Newhart was huge in the early 60s but, despite the fact that most comedy dates really quickly, many of his routines hold up very well. His best routines are, maybe, Retirement Party, African Movie and Abe Lincoln vs Madison Avenue. And, since this is a maths blog, we have to make mention of Infinite Monkeys. Continue reading “BIFF 2: Bob Newhart and IBM”

PoSWW 21: Des is Mos’ Disturbing

Once upon a time, we were invited to publicly debate the use of “technology” in mathematics education. The Lord of the Meeting, however, decided that we were not the right kind of person, we were disinvited and plans for the debate ended. Instead, our would-be debating opponent and their mate were granted the platform to spruik to their heart’s content, unchallenged. A shame. Continue reading “PoSWW 21: Des is Mos’ Disturbing”

What Should We Write About?

Having fixed maths education and having run out of things to say, we’re open for suggestions.

Yeah, well, not really, or even close. We have, however, said all we plan to say on ACARA and their ridiculous curriculum, at least until whatever happens happens. And, although our to-do list runs to several volumes, with some to-dos kind of pressing, there is now, finally some space for choice. So, if there is something you wish us to write upon, some WitCH you particularly wish to see updated, whatever, suggestions are welcome. They’ll be ignored, but they’re welcome.

Which is the Best ATSI Elaboration?

Are we trying to stir up trouble? No and, of course, yes. And yes. If we were really stirring up trouble, we’d be asking for the worst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elaboration. But yes, as with our previous competitions,1 the intention is to damn an aspect of the draft mathematics curriculum by making evident the faintness of the possible praise. Moreover, given that there is essentially no tradition of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mathematics, something has to be said about this aspect of the curriculum. We do so.2

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