Cutting the cheese since 1996

The state of math education today

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

In case you ever wonder why the U.S. is so woefully behind the rest of the industrialized world in math and science...

My son came home with geometry homework tonight. Cool, I like geometry. They had these box-like shapes with given lengths on each side, and had to determine the area and perimeter. Okay. The teacher suggested they draw grid lines to bisect the shape and thus help them visualize the area. Well, all right.

So while I'm checking his work, I'm doing all this math in my head. Adding up the side for the perimeter (easy) and calculating the area (a little tougher but still fairly easy) when I see dots inside each cell of the grid he's drawn.

Me: What did you do, just count the boxes to get the area?

Him: Yes.

Me: (Blank stare. I'm speechless.)

Him: Our teacher said that's the easiest way to get the area.

So while we're at it, let's remove our shoes and socks so we can use our toes, too. Apparently they don't even teach math anymore in math class. Sigh.