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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Can a Maths Ed Theory Give Back More Than It Takes?

A year or so ago, a decades-long friend and colleague reappeared. My friend also has a strong interest in maths ed, although she takes the “Let’s all be friends” approach. Readers of this blog know well that I’ve given up on that, but still my friend and I can argue amicably about this and that. In particular, she took some issue with my “all modern maths ed sucks” post. While conceding that most educational research is bad, she was unwilling to write off the discipline entirely and she suggested a few things for me to read. I gave them a semi-decent try, and my response was “meh”. While the stuff she suggested was mostly reasonable, or even good, I felt it was, at best, addressing third order issues. One article, however, has had me pondering a little, and I thought it may be worth sharing.

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Barry Humphries and the Transience of Comedy

This post is a little overdue, or long overdue, depending on how you look at it. Barry Humphries died in April, and a couple weeks ago there was a State Memorial for Humphries at the Sydney Opera House. I watched a little of the Memorial, but it was wrong and depressing, and I gave up. Humphries was as Melburnian as it gets and a Memorial in Sydney, whatever its other merits, simply made no sense. The Memorial prompted me to begin an overdue post, however, and finally, overoverdue, here it is. Continue reading “Barry Humphries and the Transience of Comedy”

Gaming the Mathematics Exams in 1903

Trying to understand when and how Victorian maths education went so wrong has led us down some pretty obscure rabbit holes. A very helpful guide to this warren is Ken Clements and, in particular, Clements’ interesting and interestingly slanted history of Victorian school mathematics, Mathematics for the Minority. Pictured above is one of the rabbits (so to speak). Continue reading “Gaming the Mathematics Exams in 1903”

Tom’s Posts Are (Lagrange) Multiplying

Tom has a new post on his Teaching Mathematics blog: Lagrange Multipliers – A Historical Approach? Tom riffs off of a (not uncommon) poor 1960’s undergraduate lecture he had, on the method of Lagrange multipliers. Please support Tom’s blog and check it out.

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New Cur 25: Some Cultures Are More Equal Than Others

It’s a mathematics curriculum: one does not expect much history or many references to other cultures. Typically there are a few Roman numerals, a quick hello to Pythagoras and Archimedes, and that’s about it. More would be good, but it is not to be expected.

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A Frickin’ School Library Decides to Burn Some Frickin’ Books

Northcote High School Library decided to get rid of some books, which is not news: such libraries discard books all the time. Except, the method by which NHS Library went about it was news. A week ago, The Age‘s Adam Carey had a report, School library discards outdated and offensive books on colonisation: Carey’s report begins,

Dozens of 20th century non-fiction titles deemed historically inaccurate or offensive have been removed from the Northcote High School library as part of a push to decolonise the school’s book collection.

“decolonise”. Yep, again.

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