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Should calculus be taught in high school?

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physicsnoob93
#19
Jun8-09, 08:41 AM
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I think it should be offered as an elective to students who do give a damn. There are many who dont, honestly. And a lot have interest in other subjects.
zetafunction
#20
Jun8-09, 08:43 AM
P: 399
As i scientist i must say Calculus is fundamental and almost needed as breeze to breathe or as the food to live

the problem is those people involved in 'Social Science' , or take a career about Art, History, Filology,... so they will NEVER need it , or in case they need could be taught at University

however the cultural impact of calculus is so high that any person considered 'intructed' or 'wise' should know
Andy Resnick
#21
Jun8-09, 12:28 PM
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Quote Quote by Count Iblis View Post
It should be possible for universities to make downloadable lecture notes for primary school children. Many parents are interested but they are incomptent to help their children. They do want to get their children to the best universities.

So, if the universities themselves where to say: "To make sure your child doesn't drop out in the first year, we recommend that your child studies from our specially prepared lecture notes", the problem would be solved.
Walk into any bookstore (or big-box store with a 'books' section) and you will find scads of already-existing workbooks specifically with this aim. A cursory interweb search will likewise net you a nearly uncountable set of similar materials.

The problem is not availability; the problem is lack of interest.
thrill3rnit3
#22
Jun18-09, 12:31 PM
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Personally, I don't think there is any way out of this "education gap" between the United States and the rest of the world.
qntty
#23
Jun18-09, 12:35 PM
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Quote Quote by Andy Resnick View Post
First, taking AP math is not required in high school, and second, my understanding is that it is up to the university if any AP credit is granted. I see nothing wrong with offering advanced coursework in high school as an option- remedial coursework is offered, why not the converse?
I don't think the issue is whether advanced coursework should be offered, but rather whether that coursework should be calculus. If the college fail rate of calculus is high then that means that kids don't know the fundamentals well enough. Maybe, rather than introducing calculus sooner, we should make sure kids understand everything up to the point of calculus better.
Count Iblis
#24
Jun18-09, 01:10 PM
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Quote Quote by qntty View Post
I don't think the issue is whether advanced coursework should be offered, but rather whether that coursework should be calculus. If the college fail rate of calculus is high then that means that kids don't know the fundamentals well enough. Maybe, rather than introducing calculus sooner, we should make sure kids understand everything up to the point of calculus better.
The reason why students are bad a math is precisely because we don't teach enough of it early enough. The age at which most children could start to learn math is somewhere around the age of 8. But we start to teach very elementary math at the age of 12, so that's four years lost, which is the same amount of time students spend at the undergraduate level at university.

Also, if we were to start teaching math at the age of 8 then more of what the children learn will be hard wired in their brains. Things like manipulating algebraic expressons etc. will be as natural as speaking English. While if you learn these things at a later age, it is like learning to speak Chinese at a very late age. It is more difficult to get fluent at it.
buffordboy23
#25
Jun18-09, 10:41 PM
P: 539
Quote Quote by Count Iblis View Post
The reason why students are bad a math is precisely because we don't teach enough of it early enough. The age at which most children could start to learn math is somewhere around the age of 8. But we start to teach very elementary math at the age of 12, so that's four years lost, which is the same amount of time students spend at the undergraduate level at university.
Interesting statement...I can't agree or disagree at the moment, since it is a generalized statement. Do you have any sources that support your remark? What about links to the national mathematics curriculum for foreign countries? We can compare their standards by grade to those of the U.S.
yeongil
#26
Jun20-09, 09:27 PM
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Quote Quote by Count Iblis View Post
The reason why students are bad a math is precisely because we don't teach enough of it early enough. The age at which most children could start to learn math is somewhere around the age of 8. But we start to teach very elementary math at the age of 12, so that's four years lost, which is the same amount of time students spend at the undergraduate level at university.
I am confused by this statement. Are you saying that what students are learning in Math class in grades K-2 isn't "elementary math" at all? What are they learning, then?


01
thrill3rnit3
#27
Jun20-09, 10:23 PM
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Math is not emphasized enough at those levels. For heaven's sake kids don't fully understand how to add/subtract "unlike" fractions until the 6th grade...
physicsnoob93
#28
Jun20-09, 10:45 PM
P: 170
Quote Quote by Count Iblis View Post
The reason why students are bad a math is precisely because we don't teach enough of it early enough. The age at which most children could start to learn math is somewhere around the age of 8. But we start to teach very elementary math at the age of 12, so that's four years lost, which is the same amount of time students spend at the undergraduate level at university.

Also, if we were to start teaching math at the age of 8 then more of what the children learn will be hard wired in their brains. Things like manipulating algebraic expressons etc. will be as natural as speaking English. While if you learn these things at a later age, it is like learning to speak Chinese at a very late age. It is more difficult to get fluent at it.
People start learning math when they are 6 in Primary School over here in Singapore. I thought they would do the same in the US too? And are you sure about:
Quote Quote by Count Iblis View Post
...But we start to teach very elementary math at the age of 12...
?

We have an International called Kyle from North Carolina, he is probably the most advanced math student in our level, and hes an year younger than us. He learned math through calculus when he was in Elementary school. I think its the difference between private and public schools?
thrill3rnit3
#29
Jun20-09, 10:59 PM
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Quote Quote by physicsnoob93 View Post
People start learning math when they are 6 in Primary School over here in Singapore. I thought they would do the same in the US too? And are you sure about:
?

We have an International called Kyle from North Carolina, he is probably the most advanced math student in our level, and hes an year younger than us. He learned math through calculus when he was in Elementary school. I think its the difference between private and public schools?
Well Kyle most likely fits in the category of "outlier".

No elementary school here teaches calculus. In fact, only a small number teaches algebra in 6th grade.

Elementary, middle school, and high school education here in the U.S. is crap.

And Count Iblis is right. Most kids don't have their "basic" maths straightened out until age 12, at the least.
thrill3rnit3
#30
Jun20-09, 11:00 PM
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Plus, most private schools are worse because of lack of funding. Of course there are exceptions like the Philips Exeter Academy.

Most of the good high schools are public high schools.
mXSCNT
#31
Jun21-09, 12:39 AM
P: 330
My personal opinion on math education in the US is that our problems stem from the anti-intellectual culture that many youth get drawn into. The culture glorifies soldiers, musicians, actors, athletes, anything but scientists, who are derided as stuffy and useless. There isn't much emphasis on a work ethic, either. It's all about quick gratification. The result is, most students don't value math much, and if they do value it they are less inclined to work at it. The best students, who both value achievement and are willing to work, are ostracized as geeks. With that kind of peer pressure who would want to be smart?
j93
#32
Jun21-09, 01:17 AM
P: 286
Quote Quote by mXSCNT View Post
My personal opinion on math education in the US is that our problems stem from the anti-intellectual culture that many youth get drawn into. The culture glorifies soldiers, musicians, actors, athletes, anything but scientists, who are derided as stuffy and useless. There isn't much emphasis on a work ethic, either. It's all about quick gratification. The result is, most students don't value math much, and if they do value it they are less inclined to work at it. The best students, who both value achievement and are willing to work, are ostracized as geeks. With that kind of peer pressure who would want to be smart?
This still doesnt account for the fact that in the US kids spend 7 years learning how to add and subtract due to the curriculum.
thrill3rnit3
#33
Jun21-09, 01:26 AM
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I believe that if reform is to be done to the curriculum it should start with the bottom (preschool - elementary education), working its way to the top (high school curriculum).
Astronuc
#34
Jun21-09, 07:54 PM
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Quote Quote by thrill3rnit3 View Post
Math is not emphasized enough at those levels. For heaven's sake kids don't fully understand how to add/subtract "unlike" fractions until the 6th grade...
I learned that in 4th grade in the US. But I've found US schools uneven. Some are great and many are poor. I probably had the best teachers in the schools I attended, but that's because I got shuffled into Major Works (MW) or Honors courses.
thrill3rnit3
#35
Jun21-09, 08:33 PM
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Quote Quote by Astronuc View Post
I learned that in 4th grade in the US. But I've found US schools uneven. Some are great and many are poor. I probably had the best teachers in the schools I attended, but that's because I got shuffled into Major Works (MW) or Honors courses.
It's supposed to be "taught" at that stage. But because of the lack of emphasis by the teachers, and thus the lack of interest by the students (I'm talking about the middle tier-lower tier students), they don't fully understand the concept until middle school.

Which is pretty pathetic IMO.
PhysicalAnomaly
#36
Jun21-09, 10:09 PM
P: 122
Maybe you could adopt the asian method and just make the students do more and hope it works. XD

The australian maths syllabus is a year behind malaysian and singaporean syllabi and their students are no more competent at what they learn either. The students in the asian countries do more questions a day and by the time they graduate from high school, they are expected to have done thousands of calculus questions. There's also the massive peer and parent pressure. They go for tuition classes and spend a lot of time just doing problems. We also learn so many different methods of doing things that it's quite shocking to find that the australian students only know a single method.

I personally don't think much of mindlessly doing hundreds of questions. But if it works, it works.


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