Comment Preferences

• The notion of a "proof" is an enormous hurdle.(15+ / 0-)

People usually have simply not seen a logical argument constructed from beginning to end before that.  This is, of course, a crime.

Having said that, Calculus is so viscerally familiar that it is easily taught visually.  The important point is to connect the abstract concepts to the intuitive visual analogs, if only to demonstrate that the two can be connected!

Justice deferred is justice denied. -MLK

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• Too few math textbooks even bother(11+ / 0-)

trying to explain how the math applies to the real world. I remember learning about geometric sequences in high school, and I thought they were interesting but didn't see the practical applications. Then I went to my boyfriend's band practice and started looking at a guitar.

Thought #1: Hey, the frets are a geometric sequence!

Thought #2: And I can create an equation for the next in the series!

Interested in identifying and eating wild plants? Check out my foraging diaries.

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• Many students have Zenophobia(7+ / 0-)

The fear of converging geometric series.

It was precisely this notion of infinite series which in the sixth century BC led the Greek philosopher Zeno to conclude that since an arrow shot towards a target first had to cover half the distance, and then half the remainder, and then half the remainder after that, and so on ad infinitum, the result was, as I will now demonstrate, that though an arrow is always approaching its target, it never quite gets there, and Saint Sebastian died of fright.

Tom Stoppard, Jumpers, 1972

Big Joe Helton: "I pay Plenty."
Chico Marx: "Well, then we're Plenty Tough."

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• My partner and I often share desserts (3+ / 0-)
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and when we get to the last bite, one of us will offer it to the other one who will refuse, instead taking half of what's left. The other person will then take half of the remainder, and so on.

In the real world, at some point there are more crumbs stuck to the knife than remain in the dessert.

Interested in identifying and eating wild plants? Check out my foraging diaries.

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• exaclty! And at some point...(2+ / 0-)
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the arrowhead is larger than half the distance to the target and that's is the moment it arrives.

• If a man and a woman are standing(4+ / 0-)

at opposite ends of a room and every second, they half the distance between them...a mathematician will tell you that they never meet, but an engineer will tell you that they meet for all practical purposes ;)

Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

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• Logic (9+ / 0-)

I like to use this one on my spouse and son.

Boys starts with B
And they both have 3 letters

Girl starts with G
Good starts with G
ANd they both have 4 letters
Therefor all girls are good

and another
I was born without a stub therefor I can't be stub-born.

These are Rush and Beck style arguments. My son who is a Rush republican has no defense against this goofy reasoning. My husband laughs at me and I smile.

Calculus proofs were really boring. I liked Geometry proofs.

Fear is the Mind Killer

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• They don't teach Euclidean geometry anymore...(3+ / 0-)
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which is sort of a shame.  It got crowded out of the curriculum for good reasons though.  When I was in hs they did algebra3/geometry/trigonometry together for kids on the calculus track in mathematics, which doesn't really leave time for an axiomatic approach to geometry.

What they really need to do is make the school year longer and go to a trimester system.

Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

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• Total shame(4+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
ER Doc, kurt, Larsstephens, James Robinson

High school geomery was the first place we did rigorous proofs.  For many students, it was the only place.

"But how do we know that for sure?" is one of the Great Questions that makes humans human.  Or maybe that question isn't as important as the latest about Brangelina?

Big Joe Helton: "I pay Plenty."
Chico Marx: "Well, then we're Plenty Tough."

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