Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Math methods for teachers

Wednesday's class is Math Methods. It is taught by Ms. H, who has been a math teacher for many years. It looks to be a fairly interesting class, a moderate amount of work and some interesting approaches discussed. We spent much of the class working on presenting a lesson about averages. Ms. H tried to demonstrate the conceptual approach rather than a simple procedural understanding (add together and divide by the number). So we broke out the blocks and made little charts with them and did examples of finding averages with them. In the end, I wasn't sure that I had gained too much of an understanding. To me, the "add together and divide" approach is the quickest and easiest. I also think the concrete, visual, manipulative approach is slightly disingenuous in the case of the average, because the average isn't really there. It's just an idea that best expresses the totality of a group of numbers. When you do an abstract mental operation and find that the average of a group of numbers is five, you then have an idea about them as a group, but you haven't done anything with them. When you rearrange four dissimilar piles of blocks to get five each, it seems to me somehow that you've done something besides find the average. Anyway, I didn't leave the class feeling like it will be a waste of time.

This is the first class this semester that I am not the only male in. (Heck, if I wasn't so physically and personally unappealing, I'd be fighting off the ladies!) I'm seeing a lot of the old faces from American Public School (but not, unfortunately, Ram --- we don't have any classes together).

I remain quite depressed. No one calls me or returns my calls. [Well, let me amend that. The Friar invited me out to the Hangout, but I didn't get the message until too late for me to go out. I guess I'm complaining that Ram doesn't return my calls.]

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