Harrison Bergeron

The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

Read Vonnegut’s great short story here, or watch an excellent adaptation, below.

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Jenna Price and Her Charming Mates

There’s a bit of a kerfuffle at the moment, with NSW planning to appoint a chief behaviour advisor, to advise on school discipline issues. It is not an issue we think much about. For us, if you’ve given up on kids sitting still and facing the front, attending to a teacher teaching, then you’ve already conceded the Mainland and you’re simply fighting over the Outer Territories. Nonetheless, we can appreciate the practical importance, and we’ve read a number of good articles by Greg Ashman and others.

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WitCH 84: VCAA’s Design Flaws

We still haven’t had time to take a proper look at the 2023-2027 VCAA Mathematics Study Design, but it smells very very bad.

A blog-reader has alerted us to a VCAA webinar on Mathematical Methods in the new study design. (31/01/24 Link updated.) The video can be viewed here, with transcript here (Word, idiots), and PowerPoint slides here (PowerPoint, idiots). The study design is here (Word, idiots). The previous discussion on this blog can be found here.

The video made us nauseous.

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New Cur 3: ACARA’s Not an Option

“Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.”

“Yeah, I know. And such small portions.”

“And they won’t even serve it to us.”

Yep, ACARA is even worse than Woody Allen’s Catskills resort. This charmingly insidious aspect of ACARA’s appalling mathematics curriculum was pointed out to me by blog-commenter Storyteller, while discussing my Cones Don’t Exist post. Continue reading “New Cur 3: ACARA’s Not an Option”

New Cur 2: Not the Volume of a Cone

ACARA is why we can’t have nice things.

Yesterday I decided to be a good guy for a change, and went about writing up Alfred Lodge’s derivation of the volume of a cone. While doing so, however, I thought to take a quick peek at how cones are covered in the new mathematics F-10 curriculum. Big mistake.

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The Volume of a Cone

A few days ago, we pulled on a historical thread and wound up browsing the early volumes of The Mathematical Gazette. Doing so, we stumbled across a “mathematical note” from 1896 by Alfred Lodge, the first president of the Mathematical Association. Lodge’s note provides a simple derivation for the volume of a cone. Such arguments don’t vary all that much but, however we missed it, we’d never seen the derivation in the very elegant form presented by Lodge. Here is Lodge’s argument, slightly reworded.

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The Awfullest Australian Curriculum Number Lines

As regular readers will know, and have been ignoring, we’ve been steadily working through ACARA’s new mathematics curriculum, compiling the annoying-or-way-worse 1-liner content descriptions and elaborations. No one is reading it of course, because that would be nuts. Or, it would cause the reader to go nuts. But, we’ll continue. In for a penny, in for a pounding. Continue reading “The Awfullest Australian Curriculum Number Lines”

Applied Mathematics is Bad Mathematics

Yes, the the title is clickbait, but it is not our clickbait. It’s the title of an interesting and semi-provocative 1981 article by Paul Halmos. Halmos’s article came to mind after a brief conversation recently, about applied mathematics in Australia. As with pretty much everything Halmos wrote, it seemed worth sharing.* Continue reading “Applied Mathematics is Bad Mathematics”