TNDOT 3: The Remainders of the Day

Here’s a third entry in our Teaching New Dogs Old Trigs Tricks series: the first three questions from the 1907 Victorian Matric Algebra exam.* As well as the computational aspects, readers might be interested in contemplating what was expected for the proof parts, as well as how one might fruitfully present such results to students now, a century later.

*) TNDOT 2 is also in the process of being updated. Stay tuned.

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Bernie’s Valiant Effort

As some relief from the heavy lunacy of the AMT debacle, here is a light little story, a lead-in to a second little story to come soon. A couple weeks ago, we were contacted by Simon the Likeable, asking if we had any “old (or new) texts” containing an introduction to matrices suitable for not-so-strong Year 10 students. Simon wanted to avoid using the school’s current Year 11 text, which the students would use next year, but also his inclination was to use an older text. Continue reading “Bernie’s Valiant Effort”

Goin’ Back to Dallas, Texas

This post is about Dallas, which, it must be noted, is one of the most sterile, soulless cities in existence. As such, it is obligatory to begin with the excellent Dallas, Texas performed by the very excellent Austin Lounge Lizards:

On with the post.

We had thought of writing further on California’s recent foot shooting, of screwing up mathematics for everyone in the name of equity. And then came the story of Cambridge, Massachusetts schools killing off early algebra for everyone in the name of equity. But it is all so painfully stupid, and familiar, nothing much needs to be said; yelling “Harrison Bergeron” pretty much covers it. While reading about all this stupidity, however, we came upon a report suggesting that Dallas was doing it right, or at least a hell of a lot righter. Continue reading “Goin’ Back to Dallas, Texas”

Yes More Mr. Nice Guy: Tom Peachey’s New Blog

On occasion, I get objections to the nastiness of this blog: “Why can’t you be nicer?”, and so forth. The answer is that I can’t because I can’t: my blog is fuelled by my disgust and anger at the perversion of mathematics education, and of education in general, and of our entire culture. That’s the way it is. But there is a solution: have someone else be nice for me. Continue reading “Yes More Mr. Nice Guy: Tom Peachey’s New Blog”

New Cur 5: Non-Reoccuring Decimals

Last year, we held a competition: What Are the Arguments FOR the Draft Mathematics Curriculum. The winner was officially no one, partly because everyone was too cynical to take the competition seriously, and partly because everyone’s cynicism was very largely justified. Still, we decided to declare John Friend the winner, for his suggestion in a different competition. John’s suggestion was an elaboration from Year 8 Number:

investigating the use of pronumerals to represent recurring decimals as their equivalent fractions, for example, let \color{RawSienna}\boldsymbol{x = 0.\bar7} then \color{RawSienna}\boldsymbol{x = 0.77777..} and \color{RawSienna}\boldsymbol{10x = 7.77777...} therefore  \color{RawSienna}\boldsymbol{10x \mbox{ \bf - } x = 7} and 9x = 7 so \color{RawSienna}\boldsymbol{x = \frac79} (old AC9M8N03)

This elaboration has been removed for the approved curriculum.

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New Cur 4: Golden Moments

ACARA’s draft mathematics curriculum contained innumerable head-slappers, including the following content and elaboration from Year 8 Number (which we posted upon here):

recognise and investigate irrational numbers in applied contexts including certain square roots and π (old AC9M8N01)

investigate the Golden ratio as applied to art, flowers (seeds) and architecture

That has changed. In its stead, ACARA’s approved Curriculum has
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The Awfullest Australian Curriculum Algebra Lines

We’ve now gone through all the algebra – more accurately, “algebra” – sections of ACARA’s new mathematics curriculum. Parallel to our Worst Number Lines post, the following is our list of the worst algebra lines. Once again, it is important to note that these few lines do not begin to convey the unrelenting stupidity and triviality of the curriculum, but the real question is who invented letters in math?

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WitCH 83: A Viral MAS Question

8 ÷ 2(2 + 2) = ?

This is really a PoSWW. Except, there are a lot of words.

Above is one of those stupid BODMAS things, which appear in the media about once a month. Except, this one has just been sorted by a couple of Canadian Maths Ed professors, in a Conversation article titled The Simple Reason a Viral Math Question Stumped the Internet. Regular readers will be aware of our method of resolving such questions, but we think there are aspects of the Conversation article that warrant specific whacks.

Have fun.

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RatS 24: Ed Knight – Guessing C on a NY Algebra Test

Courtesy of frequent commenter Red Five, a maddening and absolutely hilarious article:

Guessing C For Every Answer Is Now Enough To Pass The New York State Algebra Exam

Ed Knight