Thursday, January 17, 2013

Do We Learn All the Math We Need For Ordinary Life Before 5th Grade?

aera-l | "Although about 70% of students entering the non-calculus-based Indiana University (IU) courses . . . . have completed a university calculus course, almost NONE SEEMS TO HAVE THE FOGGIEST NOTION OF THE GRAPHICAL MEANING OF A DERIVATIVE OR INTEGRAL. Similar calculus illiteracy is commonly found among students in calculus-based introductory physics courses at IU. In my judgment, these calculus interpretations are essential to the crucial OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS of instantaneous position, velocity, and acceleration: the term 'substantive non-calculus-based mechanics course' is an oxymoron."

Regarding Guy Brandenberg's recommendation of Berlinski's (1997) "Tour of the Calculus," The publisher of that book states: "Were it not for the calculus, mathematicians would have no way to describe the acceleration of a motorcycle or the effect of gravity on thrown balls and distant planets, or to prove that a man could cross a room and eventually touch the opposite wall. Just how calculus makes these things possible and in doing so finds a correspondence between real numbers and the real world is the subject of this dazzling book by a writer of extraordinary clarity and stylistic brio. Even as he initiates us into the mysteries of real numbers, functions, and limits, Berlinski explores the furthest implications of his subject, revealing how the calculus reconciles the precision of numbers with the fluidity of the changing universe."

Compare the above with to Susan Ohanian's "I never seemed to gain any insight from this exercise. . . . [[of solving calculus problems in Courant's text]]. . . , which struck me then as plodding and now I don't have any idea what any of it means."


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umbrarchist said...

It is as though many people do not comprehend the difference between Memorizing and UNDERSTANDING. The tests mostly measure memorization and the class schedules often do not provide sufficient time for understanding or the explanations are over complicated as though the teachers are more interested in showing how smart they are.

I consider 9/11 to be a huge demonstration of educational failure. Our scientists do not even have to do experiments to show that the top 15% of a skyscraper could crush the rest but there is vast amounts of mathematics claiming to show that it could.

But these same mathematicians do not demand accurate data on the distributions of steel and concrete down the building. There is so much silence form physicists and structural engineers on the subject.

CNu said...

Lol, bruv...., smdh...,

You wuz doing so good, right up until the moment your quantum consciousness attempted to break free from its entanglement with the 9/11 event horizon.

umbrarchist said...

Are you saying that 9/11 must not have anything to do with STEM education? It took me two weeks to conclude airliners could not destroy skyscrapers that big, then I mostly ignored it. I figured it would get resolved. Then 5 years later they were still debating the crap. That was when I started.

Now the issue is no longer 9/11. The issue is why haven't they settled 9/11? Grade school physics! A few weeks ago Phil Jayhan demonstrated he did not even know how much a floor in the tower weighed. It is dummies arguing with dummies and maintaining confusion.

And they expect to manage a high technology economy when they can't settle this trivia.

arnach said...

Umbra: UNDERSTAND this:

CNu said...

The pejorative "truthers" is now being applied to folks who don't believe that Lanza was by himself or even in fact the shooter at Newtown CT...., as far as settling trivia goes, I believe the Warren Commission firmly settled the question of whether or not the "official story" will ever have to coincide with the objectively plausible story.

9/11 has nothing whatsoever to do with STEM education - but it has a very great deal to do with the art of telling and selling the "official story".

umbrarchist said...

Conspiracies are irrelevant. It is about physics.

That NYTimes one is the only one I have not seen.

It says nothing about the building being 300 feet wide and how fire could make it come down all of the way across that length so the roof line could remain straight during the collapse. Columns are normally 30 feet apart so that would be 11 columns. How could fire make all of them give way simultaneously?

How do so many people not think and yet claim to UNDERSTAND?

We do not even have floor plans for the horizontal beams in the core of the south tower. And after 11 years???

umbrarchist said...

There is one thing that is very funny to observe about all of these articles which supposedly explain things about the collapse of the towers. Most sources try to blame the tube in tube structure and the trusses extending between the core and the perimeter.

But how much did one of those floor assemblies weigh with the 4 inch thick concrete slab and the corrugated steel pans and all of the 35 and 60 foot trusses? Where is there an article that either asks or specifies that? I have not ever seen a single one. I have only found it in one place in the NIST report and they don't mention it anywhere else. Why isn't that important if the building had to be strong enough to support 109 of them? Actually its 86 because other floors had even heavier designs. But it is possible to compute what the floor slab should weigh but no one ever does it.

The concrete slab was 600 tons and the steel was 150 tons.

So if all of these articles are explaining so much then why does that NEVER get mentioned? In fact Phil Jayhan, one of the producers of Loose Change, didn't know it after 11 years. This "debate" has become the stupid arguing with the stupid over something that should have been resolved in one year.

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