Are You Old Enough To Remember New Math?
Tue, 01/24/12 10:20 PM
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When I was in the first grade ~ '61, during the first few months of the year, we were abruptly issued workbooks. Up in front of the room there were these two stick figures (counting men) placed that had removable fingers. Ones man and Tens man. We were going to relearn how to count! From that point on until the 6th grade we were in some sort of mathematic twilight zone. In retrospect, the teachers from the beginning were clueless. Parents were outraged that we were functionally illiterate in basic mathmatics. Conventional addition, subtraction,divison and multiplication that one would need on a daily basis had been replaced with pages of expanded notation, simple verbal problems were turned into convoluted narratives involving sets. Johnny no longer had 50 cents in his pocket, it became a labled set of five tens and zero one cents units. Oh it got better. We're assuming the "operation' was being transacted in base 10. On another day, we might be adding in base 8 or base 3. A simple addition problem would have to be accompanied with Venn diagrams showing the intersection of two sets of intergers. By the time we were in 4th grade they finally got around to multiplication that was a fiasco in itself. We had to draw a grid to just to multiply two numbers. Everything was absolutely abusrd and parents were totally freaked out after a few years. Long division became so weird with colums of numbers on the side with "remainders". Jr high became a watershed year. We were totally disfunctional with day to day math and 7th and 8th was mostly remedial. While the whole idea was to prepare one for higher mathmatics, none of it was useful really unless you ventured into pre-calculus and Trig as a college prep student.

How many of you old timers had the pleasure of being indoctrinated in the New Math to spite the Russkies while practicing "Duck and Cover" ?