New Cur 23: False Equivalence


The word “equivalent” is one of the most useful in mathematics and one of the most abused in mathematics education. The implication is that this one is not all ACARA’s fault. Nonetheless, the fact that it was predictable that ACARA would make a mess of it doesn’t alter the fact that ACARA made a mess of it. So, here we are. And a warning: this is a long post; there seemed no way around it.

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Witch 91: Engaging With Reality

Following on from Adam Carey’s report on the decline of enrolments in Specialist Mathematics, Radio National held an interview-discussion: How to re-engage students in mathematics. The interview was with the president of the MAV and the Chief Engineer of Engineers Australia. We haven’t the energy to document or analyse their various diagnoses and caveats and solutions. Go for it. Continue reading “Witch 91: Engaging With Reality”

New Cur 22: Stupor Model

When attacking ACARA’s draft mathematics curriculum, we noted the frequency with which certain words and phrases appeared. Below is the revised count for some of these, for the new curriculum. Not that ACARA is mandating how teachers should teach, or anything like that. It’s obviously the furthest thing from ACARA’s innocent little mind.

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New Cur 21: Depression of the Mean

It is no surprise that the Statistics strand of the new mathematics curriculum is thin. Still, it may be a surprise how thin it is.

The following, as near as we can tell, is the complete list of contents and elaborations that refer to “mean” or “median” or similar, and thus might (and still might not) require at least some mental or written computation. In other words, these are the only items we could find that seem to not simply be a matter of tabulating or “exploring” or “investigating” or “analysing”, the only items that consist of anything more than sitting around and chatting about stuff.

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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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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”