Trips and Travels

Senin, 05 Oktober 2015

To get kids interested in maths we have to make it real

this one is a nice post from a good friend from AUS, let's have a look .

I'll start by being upfront. I take a very pragmatic view of maths. I'm not a pure mathematician. I'm not a person who finds it inherently beautiful... Sure it can be cool, interesting, illuminating even sometimes exciting, but never beautiful (at least in my mind). Fundamentally, I see maths as a tool, not something that should be studied for the sake of it. And I think that one thing our maths education forgets is that most people would agree with me. Much of what we learn in maths is fundamentally useless, or at least it appears that way. And this is a problem...
In a time when the amount on people taking higher maths is rapidly decreasing, we still continue teaching the same irrelevant problems. Graphing x against y is, by itself, useless. In reality, professionals rarely graph x against y, and even more rarely for the sake of it. Finding the midpoint of a line is not inherently useful either, if that line is just a line on a page. And, let's be honest, it's not very interesting either.
However, if we give these mathematical applications physical meanings, we make maths interesting and relatable to our world. Now we are graphing a car's speed against its time traveled, or we are finding the midpoint of a railing we want to hang flowers on. The maths we teach our children is almost always useful in the real world, its just not taught that way; this leaves pupils wondering "when will we ever need to know this?" This shouldn't be the case, we should make it clear where this knowledge will serve our students in the future. Sure some teachers can do this, but many either can't or try to. If we make these applications a part of our syllabus we increase the resources available to teach these things. Essentially, if maths is viewed as something that is useful students will study it and more will study it at a high level. Education is becoming more career centered and we need maths to appear as a solution to the increasingly difficult job market to make it appealing and increase enrollments.

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