What is/was 'new math'

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Leo Hinze, Feb 16, 2002.

  1. Leo Hinze

    Leo Hinze Stunt Coordinator

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    Okay. I'm curious. What exactly is 'new math'? And how new is it? And what was old math? And why is new math not as good as old math?

    I seem to remember a PTA meeting in the mid 70's where my dad (who was a math major in college) stood up and had a heated argument with some guy about something. After the meeting, I asked my dad what that was about. He said he didn't want the school trying to teach new math. I nodded and said "Oh" in the way that kids do when they don't really understand something but want other to think they do.

    Just for reference, I'm no arithmetician, but I supposedly know my numbers up through differential equations.
     
  2. Joseph S

    Joseph S Cinematographer

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    I'm not sure what it was, but I must have "suffered" through it. Well, not really. I enjoyed having the chance to take Algebra before HS and 2 years of Calc prior to college. The system also allowed for the use of the TI series of Gaming ehem...Graphing Calculators.
    Perhaps it's time for some "New English," because I "couldn't care less" about that subject. [​IMG]
     
  3. Kim Donald

    Kim Donald Stunt Coordinator

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    Real Name:
    Kim Donald Houde-Martens
    Great question. One of those things everyone knows about until asked. So folks what is it?

    kd
     
  4. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Basically it's a new way of working problems that's easier and more intuitive. I still failed math no matter how they taught it, so it doesn't matter [​IMG]
     
  5. Marty Christion

    Marty Christion Stunt Coordinator

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    I always thought it was a more "friendly" way to teach math to kids who don't like math. Lots of stories and analogies, experiments and "figuring out for yourself", instead of tables and flash cards and tests.
    I think some of the fear of New Math is that it may devolve into "Why does 2+2=5 for you Johnny? Let's talk about your answer, because it may be right for you..." type thinking, instead of "2+2 doesn't = 5, it's 4. You're wrong, Johnny."
    Now I find these sites that describe it...
    http://www.fastcompany.com/online/31/lev.html
    http://www.dehnbase.org/hold/
     
  6. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    I remember that. Fortunately, I didn't take it. (I wasn't in the 80th percentile, or some stuff like that). I think the first texts came out in 64 from Yale University.

    I did encounter it, though. A girlfriend's little sister got stuck on it. (This was like 7 years later, but by that time, it wasn't 'new' anymore). I had to read the entire chapter to get it, but they basically 'dropped' remainders and shifter numbers around to achieve the same answer. It did have its 'good' points, and was faster and easier to work with, but the potential for wrong answers in complex calculations was a major drawback. You have to realize that all of this was before calculators. (I saw a 4 function calculator in Hong Kong in 1970 for $200. - US$).

    What it did was produce an entire generation of math 'illiterates', or so they say.
     
  7. Michael St. Clair

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    New Math dates back to the Sputnik era, post WWII. It was probably not widespread until the 60s.
    Basically, New Math added story problems, cutting/rearranging/measuring different shapes, and other things in an attempt to help students understand the whys and hows of math instead of just being able to do math. The problem was that many teachers didn't understand the concepts, they only knew how to jump through the hoops. So, since these teachers couldn't understand New Math, they dumbed down all the materials and exercises and made it of little value.
    And now, there is a New-New-Math. Sometimes called 'Fuzzy Math'. It's some new Politically Correct bullshit where you teach kids that teamwork and effort count more than getting the right answer or trying to solve the problem in the right way. It's one more thing that is dumbing down our whole educational system, and kids who are learning this are getting standardized test scores that are in the toilet compared to two years ago...they cannot compute! While I'm not a fan of standardized tests for everything, I do think that it is important for those with mathmatic aptitude be given a framework where they can actually learn to perform calculations and solve problems!
    I know it sounds like some kind of fundamentalist rant, but it is actually true...we are destroying our own educational system by allowing lunatics to run the system, all in the name of trying to make everybody the same (dumb-up the smart kids until everybody is in the middle) instead of trying to help each kid be all s/he can be.
     
  8. Howard Williams

    Howard Williams Supporting Actor

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    If I remember correctly, the new math introduced/emphasized sets, subsets and supersets where the old math did not. Or something like that.
     
  9. Leo Hinze

    Leo Hinze Stunt Coordinator

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    Commence shameless bumping to top....

    Actually, I am cleaning out my outlook 'humor' folder, and I came across this from 4 years ago.

    ***********************************************

    Teaching Math in...

    ***********************************************

    Teaching Math in 1950:

    A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His

    cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his

    profit?

    Teaching Math in 1960:

    A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His

    cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What

    is his profit?

    Teaching Math in 1970:

    A logger exchanges a set "L" of lumber for a set "M"

    of money. The cardinality of set "M" is 100. Each

    element is worth one dollar. Make 100 dots

    representing the elements of the set "M". The set

    "C", the cost of production contains 20 fewer points

    than set "M". Represent the set "C" as a subset of set

    "M" and answer the following question: What is the

    cardinality of the set "P" of profits?

    Teaching Math in 1980:

    A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His

    cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your

    assignment: Underline the number 20.

    Teaching Math in 1990:

    By cutting down beautiful forest trees, the logger

    makes $20. What do you think of this way of making a

    living? Topic for class participation after answering

    the question? How did the forest birds and squirrels

    feel as the logger cut down the trees? There are no

    wrong answers.

    Teaching Math in 1996:

    By laying off 402 of its loggers, a company improves

    its stock price from $80 to $100. How much capital

    gain per share does the CEO make by exercising his

    stock options at $80. Assume capital gains are no

    longer taxed, because this encourages investment.

    Teaching Math in 1997:

    A company outsources all of its loggers. They save on

    benefits and when demand for their product is down the

    logging work force can easily be cut back. The average

    logger employed by the company earned $50,000, had 3

    weeks vacation, received a nice retirement plan and

    medical insurance. The contracted logger charges $50

    an hour. Was outsourcing a good move?

    Teaching Math in 1998:

    A logging company exports its wood-finishing jobs to

    its Indonesian subsidiary and lays off the

    corresponding half of its US workers (the higher-paid

    half). It clear-cuts 95% of the forest, leaving the

    rest for the spotted owl, and lays off all its

    remaining US workers. It tells the workers that the

    spotted owl is responsible for the absence of fellable

    trees and lobbies Congress for exemption from the

    Endangered Species Act. Congress instead exempts the

    company from all federal regulation. What is the

    return on investment of the lobbying costs?
     

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