Monthly Archives: March 2011

Why I am a Square

It hurts me to deny a student’s request for an exception to class policy – to be able to turn in a late assignment, or to make up a missed quiz, and the like.  My premise is that whatever the … Continue reading

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Whither Basic Algebra

An article about a design class prompted the following question.  What would a redesigned math curriculum look like? Current middle school/high school mathematics is in a deep, well-worn rut.  It is mostly focused on developing algebra skills useful for getting closed … Continue reading

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Memorizing Formulas

I ask my intermediate algebra students to memorize the derivation of the quadratic formula.  Some moan and groan but I reply that this is what I expect from an “A” student.  I also explain that the act of memorizing the … Continue reading

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When Students Get OnLine Help from Wolfram|Alpha

This term I had my intermediate algebra students turn in a graph of .  They had to show all their work.  One of my students used Wolfram|Alpha to check his answer.  He came to me with this image. He said, … Continue reading

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Idle Hands

For some reason I developed an urge to do some arithmetic calculations.  There is supposedly a narrative from a  science fiction short story where planetary explorers are returning to earth and all their computers go down.  An historian that they … Continue reading

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Why I Enjoy Teaching

What excites about teaching is the organization and presentation of ideas.  It always seems like I learned this stuff the hard way and I want to explain how easy (and fun) it really is.  There is some self-delusion in this … Continue reading

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