What do you think about offering parents the option to enroll their students in a practical-math class program verses an abstract-math class program?
Starting in the 9th grade, students could take the practical-math class program that deal with in depth budgeting, linear equation word problems and graphs, simple construciton projects using geometry and trigonometry, taxes, ext.
The abstract-math program contains the cirrculum that mainly only shows up on standarized test or in specialized college courses, but which does not ever show up for 90% of monthly life.
We can change the education of our children.
I like the idea.
I teach Algebra 2 to 11th graders. It would be great if they all went on to become scientists and engineers. Most will not. A "practical" sequence of math might be more useful for most of our students. Unfortunately, our test-driven culture thinks more advanced abstract concepts should be taught to all students.
At least that's how it is in California. We expect all 8th graders to be proficient in Algebra 1...
But it looks like the Common Core standards might bring some sanity back into the state...
I am a big fan of the two path in mathematics education. However, my major concern is the flexible of moving inbetween the two paths. I agree that the type of mathematics we teach doesn't apply to all students as they have different life goals. But since these goals may change, I want to be able to provide students with the ability to transfer their focus to more appropriate mathematics. I think that both paths can engage students in higher-ordered thinking and mathematical logic. And while it would require a lot of work and money, I think that it is possible to create standardized test that could test the practical mathematics for those students who choose the "more applicable" track. With respect to practical math courses, I think there is a lack of good resources that help teachers achieve this goal. If there are resources available, I would love to know where I can find them.
I agree with having two paths, there are so many kids that don't benefit from the abstract mathematics everyone forces them to learn. I also feel like by training everyone to go to college and get degrees, we're creating the wrong work force for the current economy and country. A lot of the courses are being watered down so that they are accessable to everyone, but then no one learns what they personally need to learn to get a job and be able to support themselves.
The new Common Core standards seem to be more flexible in that they have two suggested "model" pathways for high school math courses. The integrated pathway may be better for students who struggle vs. the traditional pathway. The problem with offering multiple pathways beginning in grade 9 is what happens if students want or need to make a change. Do all ninth graders really know what they will do after high school? Also, what about the standardized tests that are required for graduation? We won't know for a couple of years what the new standardized test for the Common Core will be like. In Massachusetts, we need to continue to prepare students for the current MCAS test required in grade 10.
Sometimes students who struggle with traditional math courses are very good thinkers and problem solvers. And the reverse is often true; some students do well simply because they can follow a process but they cannot solve a problem on their own without the steps. We need to help all students develop higher order critical thinking skills. The dilemma is how to make math interesting and relevant for everyone so students will want to be engaged to learn math.
Speaking of engaging students to learn math, does anyone know of anything like, say, an online collaborative gaming environment where, in order to progress in the game, you and your partners have to actually think critically, select, then apply mathematical principles and tools?
For young game players, whom you want to learn math concepts/strategies without necessarily realizing they are doing school work, check out Calculation Nation - Challenge others. Challenge yourself.™ . Let us know what you think, and if you see Koby in there, challenge me to a game of Nextu.