Thursday, February 10, 2011

I’m a little worried

Last night I was babysitting my brother’s kids (no that’s not the worrying part, they are both still alive), and I was helping my niece with her math homework.  It was about graphing and lines and one of the questions was too take a set of ordered pairs graph it, write an equation for it, and explain why that equation works.  There were four sets of ordered pairs, I remember 3 of them

(-2, 3), (-1,3),(0,3),(1,3),(2,3)

(-3,9),(-2,4),(-1,1),(0,0),(1,1)

(0,10),(2,16),(5,25),(10,40)(12,46)

My niece is an A student in math (yay Maya) so this should be pretty straight forward, but she asked for help so I took a look.  The textbook they are using is a mess.  In the objectives it talks about learning the importance of x-intercept, y-intercept, slope, interpreting data using graphs, blah, blah, blah.  You know what it doesn’t do.  Teach them any of that crap.  It shows some examples of graphs, but none of them have the axes labeled(which had my niece all screwed up because she was plotting x and y backwards), and they are all linear relationships .  The second equation is y=x^2.  I also went through the material up to the point of the homework.  No where other than the objectives was slope, x-intercept, or y-intercept mentioned, nor was the point-slope form of a line (y=mx+b).  So how is my niece supposed to write  an equation for that 3rd set of data?  I explained to her how to find the slope of a line and what the point slope form is, and made a point of emphasizing how important an equation it is.  Hopefully she understood.  When my brother got home I told him about it and he was like “I know, it’s how they teach math nowadays, I don’t understand it”  My brother is a math whiz, before he decided on biochemistry he was working on a math degree, if he doesn’t understand a middle school math textbook there are issues. 

Here is the worrying part, this crap is what all the standards are based on.  Or maybe it’s the other way around.  The textbooks are based on learning standards that produce this crap.  Either way it’s concerning.

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