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View Diary: The algebra formula that saved an industry (258 comments)

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  •  As a science instructor (8+ / 0-)

    I can tell you that things are worse than you describe.  Not only are there few younger people who can't do simple calculations in their heads;  they don't even know how to do them on calculators.  And of course they can't look at their answers to be able to judge whether they are reasonable or not.  It's enough to make one a curmudgeon.

    -5.13,-5.64; EVERYTHING is an approximation! -Hans A. Bethe

    by gizmo59 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:29:21 AM PDT

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    •  Reasonable (8+ / 0-)

      Back when I was teaching math, I would always spend some time and emphasis teaching the students to always do a quick reality check on their results.

      "Did your calculation just show that Bob's father was younger than he was? Did it just tell you that the rock you tossed up into the air would stay there for 36 hours? Did Jim just fall off of a wall that your answer says was negative seven feet high? Was the amount of your tip more than the cost of the meal? Then you might want to go back and recheck both your work and your assumptions, rather than just writing down your answer and moving on to the next problem. Five or ten seconds spent asking yourself 'Does this answer make any sense?' can save you all kinds of heartache in the long run."

      "I play a street-wise pimp" — Al Gore

      by Ray Radlein on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 12:11:05 PM PDT

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