## Saturday, March 21, 2009

### My Favorite Moments of the Week

1. Me: "See how (5+3)/(1+3) = 2? It does not = 5, right? So no one is going to break my heart and cancel terms that are not factors, right?"
Kid: "Why are you showing us this? This is like teaching someone to use a computer by opening it up and looking at the insides."
Me: "Let's get one thing straight. Opening it up and showing you the insides IS MY JOB."

2. Kid: "You know I just realized something really cool - if you showed me this problem 20 minutes ago I would have looked at you like you were crazy, but now I can do it! And it's easy!"
Other Kid (deadpan): "The miracle of learning."

3. Me: "The Smartboard has this neat tool I just found, look." (I freehand the graph of an ellipse by connecting some plotted points, and when I lift the pen, the shape snaps to a perfect curve.)
Kid: "But can she make a Kessel run in 12 parsecs?"

Kevin said...

Item 3: that kid warms my heart...

Calculus Dave said...

Re #1:

Another teacher at our school taught me this little phrase, "*You* may not need these skills, but the people running your life certainly do." I don't like quite how harsh it sounds, but I kinda like the implication that you will need it if you want to be important in life.

Re #2:

Randomly throughout the year I will stop in my calculus class and say, "Take a second to look at the board. It's full of all this stuff that we've been doing and makes perfect sense to us. Now imagine a guy with messed up hair standing in front of this on some TV show saying why such-and-such is the best plan for the future and how confident we'd be in him. Now you can pretend to be that guy."

One of my projects throughout the year is to have the students watch for math in the background of some show (Lost, Numbers, etc.) and see if they can decipher any of it.

Kevin said...

Re: Re#1:

Principals are the first line of authority for teachers and they often know little math. Next comes the Superintendent/School Board. Again no math there. At some point the people get to vote, essentially they're the real boss. Does the general public know much math? Some people might have bosses that know math, but math teachers don't! :-)

Re: Re#2: I agree that leaders are scary when they talk math and Hollywood is just silly. But let's be honest here: I can't think of many instances where if politicians knew calculus we'd be better off. Statistics perhaps?