By Delia Montgomery. 6th Grade Math. Published at Wednesday, December 02nd, 2020 - 14:59:28 PM.
We play a rendition of childhood game, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, where I ask the kids to tape index cards containing the changes that happen during puberty on the appropriate gender symbol. Yes, more giggly! We then move on to basic anatomy and physiology, including an overview of the brain, glands, the pituitary gland, hormones, testosterone and estrogen, followed a discussion of the sperm, the egg, menstrual periods, wet dreams and ejaculation. The giggly is over, replaced with an occasional exclamation "Ewwwww, thats gross!" These outbursts are consistently normalized by reinforcement that the body is an amazingly intelligent and complex machine; that the miracle of life is indeed a miracle; and that each child in the room is, in fact, a miracle. We take some time for questions and then move on to an introduction to the emotional changes that happen during puberty as a set up for our next class.
It turns out that architects do use math regularly, but they dont use very complicated or advanced math in their day-to-day careers. Architects need to be fully fluent in ratios and proportions, comfortable with basic geometry, and have strong spatial skills. They dont routinely use complicated algebra, trigonometry, or calculus. True, those branches of math are used to build major buildings and bridges- but it is the engineers, not the architects who generally do the number crunching. Similarly, I know a pediatric nurse practitioner who considers her career a calling and is, by any measure, good at her job. Shes not afraid of math, but she doesnt exactly like it either. Early in her training she assumed that shed be using quite a bit of math in her job because people had always told her that math was important for medical professionals. Now, she does use math- and its incredibly important that she get the math right every time- but the math itself is very simple and repetitive. In essence, she uses proportions to calculate medicine dosage, and thats about it.
I know this statement is shocking. Some of you may feel that I have announced the end of the civilization as we know it. How in the world will people learn math without the latest and greatest math textbook. The answer is simple. The same way people have always learned math prior to the modern education system, by doing math as they go about their everyday lives. You may ask "Is that possible?" "Would it work?" I believe so. Its the reason I made this statement when I was asked if my new book, "Math is Childs Play" was going to be a Math Textbook. But in all fairness, lets look at both sides, school math versus everyday math. First lets look at school math. I have been studying of late the topic of Math Anxiety. Increasing number of people profess to hate math, to be no good at math, to be anxious about doing basic math. These same people were taught math in our public schools. When did this situation of math anxiety start? Who knows for sure? But whats significant is that its increasing, not decreasing. Its increasing despite the modern education system, despite New Math and the latest teaching methods, despite all the money and energy that has been put towards the problem. Just for the record, I found a book "Mathematics; A Human Endeavor" by Harold R. Jacobs copyrighted in 1970 which in its preface the author mentions the failure of New Math in the schools. A book from 1964, titled "Mathematics for Elementary Teachers" by Ralph Crouch and George Baldwin which was written to teach math to elementary teacher who found themselves expected to teach math although they had no training in math.
Marilyn Burns, a well known math expert, has been addresses math anxiety since 1970 with her first book, "I Hate Mathematics" right through to her more current book, "Math; Facing an American Phobia" 1998. The latter book speaks to math anxiety as a growing phenomenon. And more recently "Math for the Anxious" by Rosanne Proga, copyrighted 2005 also is very clear about math anxiety and its causes. Of course, all this math anxiety is good; at least it is for the math textbook industry. Math anxiety sells math textbooks. Parents are concerned that their children learn math better than they did. Teachers are calling for a better way to teach math. This is great news for the math textbook companies. For you and me, this is bad news.
We had the pleasure of being in the audience, listening to the 6th, 7th and 8th grade bands perform. Our granddaughter played a clarinet duet and Im proud to say they sounded quite good. There were soloists, too, who did well. Put the entire band together, there were some missed notes, a reasonable amount of squeaks, air-and-no-notes, and shrill pitches along with missed beats. This is the first year these children have played their musical instruments, so you would expect the learning curve to still be going on. All-in-all, though, they performed much better than youd expect; you could see the determination on their faces, and they should be extremely proud of where theyve come in one year.
Once you are done with the introductory paragraph you can begin writing the body paragraphs of the essay. The first paragraph in the body of the essay should be drafted in such a way to incorporate all the important points that you wish to include and speak about the literary work. A few details supporting your claim should also be added in the body paragraph. The second in the line of the body paragraph should include the second strongest argument that you wish to make in favor of your essay followed by a third paragraph that speaks of the third strongest argument supported by the necessary details. The last sentences in each of the paragraphs should give a clear way for transition into the coming paragraphs.
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