Yes, Virginia, There *Are* Other Ways To Solve Math Problems.

Graphs.

Tables.

Guess & Check.

No, parents, I was not actually expecting you to teach your son/daughter logarithms the night before their problem set was due.

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2 thoughts on “Yes, Virginia, There *Are* Other Ways To Solve Math Problems.

  1. Do you mean that you are asking someone to do something before you taught them EXACTLY how to do that EXACT problem? This reminds me of a statement by a colleague who said that parents love having their kids in a challenging school until that school is a challenge for their kid.

    I absolutely agree that we need to help foster kids who can push through novel problems, who can think of other ways to approach a problem, who can ask GOOD questions and identify for themselves what they know and don’t.

    Keep it up

    • No. Well, sort of…

      I asked them to model an exponential function and then approximate the x-value when y-value was blah. So, I was expecting students to put their equation into their graphing calculator and scroll through the table, or look at the graph and see where the curve intersects the horizontal line y=blah. These are all things we have done before in class, albeit not 5,000 times. What we haven’t done is solve these types of systems algebraically. Since that would involve learning logs, and these kids are freakin’ freshmen! We’ll get to that, parents–in another two years.

      My riff is more based off of the societal mythos that math = symbolic manipulation (and nothing else). Or at the very least, that *hard* math is all algebra, all the time; and if it’s not hard, then why are we doing it, anyways? Ugh.

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