New Cur 19: Turning Japanese

This is a short one and, necessarily, is WitCH-like. It is an elaboration in the new Curriculum that smelled wrong to us. We checked enough to confirm there was sufficient wrongness for the elaboration to be added to the Awfulnesses list, but we haven’t sorted it out further. The comments may be interesting (or non-existent).

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New Cur 18: To be two, or not to be 2

This one may be of little interest to others, but it’s been bugging us.

A peculiar puzzle of writing mathematics is deciding when to use names and when to use numerals: should we write “two” or “2”? There is no one (1?) answer, and there are conflicting principles. Along with other rules, English style guides instruct that names should be used for small numbers, and numerals for large (with varying interpretations of “small” and “large”).

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New Cur 17: Natural Selection

A few weeks ago, we posted on a klutzy index law elaboration in the new curriculum:

using examples such as \color{OliveGreen}\boldsymbol{\frac{3^4}{3^4} =1}, and \color{OliveGreen}\boldsymbol{{3^{4-4}}=3^0} to illustrate the necessity that for any non-zero natural number 𝑛, \color{OliveGreen}\boldsymbol{{n^0}=1} (new AC9M8N02)

Some commenters were understandably puzzled by a side point: ACARA’s employment of the expression “non-zero natural number”. In this post, we’ll dispel any lingering lack of puzzlement.

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WitCH 90: Tiles and Tribulations

This is late, and it isn’t very Christmasy. But it came up as part of another project, and it’s been bugging us, so Bah Humbug.

The following is a question from 2022 Mathematical Methods Exam 1. It’s been discussed some on this post, including a concerning rumour (edited 24/12/22), and we also hammered some of the wording on this post. It is clearly deserving of its own WitCH.

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Arena: Do the Maths

A few months ago, I asked blog readers for suggestions for what had gone wrong with mathematics education. Plenty of discussion ensued, and it was very enlightening.

The purpose of that blog post was to help with the writing of an article. Guy Rundle had suggested that I write something on mathematics education for the magazine Arena. The article has now appeared (and in print). The introduction to the article is below and the full article can be read at Arena. Thank you to Guy for the opportunity, thank you all for your suggestions, and thank you to my secret crack team of hypercritical editors. (I have no idea of the significance of Arena’s graphic, but that’s cool, and it’s cool.)


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New Cur 16: The Decimation of ACARA’s Elaborations

One of the black humour aspects of ACARA’s promotion of its new curriculum, and the draft that preceded it, was ACARA declaring ad nauseum that the curriculum had been “refined” and “decluttered”. ACARA’s claim was then repeated ad more nauseum by education reporters stenographers. Continue reading “New Cur 16: The Decimation of ACARA’s Elaborations”

New Cur 15: The Vastness of Space

As was our previous post, this one concerns a very small but very telling detail of the new mathematics curriculum. A minor perversion of the curriculum is the renaming of the study of geometry as “Space”. This stupidity was noted by AMSI last year, in their submission on the draft curriculum:

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New Cur 14: Moving the Decimal Point, and Other Sins

The Year 6 Number stream of the new mathematics Curriculum contains a notable content descriptor:

multiply and divide decimals by multiples of powers of 10 without a calculator, applying knowledge of place value and proficiency with multiplication facts; using estimation and rounding to check the reasonableness of answers (AC9M6N06) 

Yep, we’re just like Singapore. Continue reading “New Cur 14: Moving the Decimal Point, and Other Sins”

New Cur 13: A Probable Grand Slam

A project upon which we spent a lot of time was listing all the “awful” lines in the new mathematics Curriculum. Readers have not paid much attention, but that’s understandable, and readers were not really the point. Compiling the list has given us a clearer sense of the absurd nature of the Curriculum, the list has been and will be the basis for more specific posts, and the list is there ready for the future: next year, when the Curriculum kicks in and people start to realise just how bad it is, we’ll be ready with the “We told you so”. Continue reading “New Cur 13: A Probable Grand Slam”