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Jim C. Can you reply to this As a math teacher, Ive seen…

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Jim C. Can you reply...
Jim C. Can you reply to this?
As a math teacher, I've seen how difficult algebra can be for high school kids. If they had been introduced to algebraic concepts earlier in school, I think they might do better in algebra. Most teachers and students do not understand that all higher level math is based on Calculus. Most of what we do in the K-12 math curriculum is prepare students for calculus, yet few students actually take calculus or apply the concepts in higher level math and science courses. In other countries in the world, students who will not use calculus are steered into careers that do not rely on math. We keep kids in an academic curriculum much longer in this country. As a result, most kids are expected to earn a college degree--and most do not expect to take calculus. In other countries in the world, even teachers and business majors take calculus. Any thoughts anyone?
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Math Homework
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7/8/2010
Math Tutor or Teacher: jimedc,
 replied 8 years ago
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There is a lot of higher math such as linear programming which is not base upon calculus--but the harder sciences and technologies rely heavily on calculus so even though not all higher math is based upon calculus--that idea is not far from the truth.

 

What is also true that much of what we teach in high school algebra may not really make all that much sense until students see how the ideas are really needed in calculus. So earlier exposure to at least some calculus can really help students have a better understanding of why we would want to formulate algebra the way we do--with a heavy reliance on the concept of a function.

 

A job worth doing is worth doing well. Sometimes teaching algebra in elementary school can actually make things worse for students when they go to high school. I have had a student do something like -4 plus -4 is +9 and then when I tell them it should be -9 insist they they were right because a negative and a negative make a positive,

 

More recently I have seen algebra taught in elementary school using x as a multiplication sign. I am not sure about this, but it seems to me to be a bad idea to get students used to using x as a multiplication sign in algebraic expressions--and then expect them to shift gears an see it as always meaning the variable x.

 

Sometimes what students need to prepare for algebra is to get experience doing things in arithmetic which resemble what they will need to do in algebra. If you spend $ 46 including a 15% tip, what was the bill? Recognizing that adding 15 % is the same as multiplying by 115% or 1.15 you can find the answer by dividing $46 by 1.15. If you understand this in an arithmetic setting then doing using algebra will be fairly easy.

x + 0.15x = 1.00x + 0.15x = 1.15x and if 1.15x = $46 then x = $46 / 1.15. The arithmetic solution helps to make the algebra make more sense.

 

.



Edited by Jim C on 7/8/2010 at 4:41 PM EST
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