Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Showing Your Work in Math

Drat These Greeks has an excellent post on showing your work in math. I have to admit, I was once one of those who thought showing work wasn't nessacary. As long as a person had the answer, why do they need to show how they got it?

Now that I'm trying to help my daughter with math, I see why. I don't know if she understands how to break down a word problems of she tells me the answer but has written nothing down. It's very easy in elementry math to figure out an answer while ignoring steps. Granted, that can be a virtue when you're using math in everyday life but if you want to keep the doors of higher math open, it can be a trap. I think it had a lot to do with why my own math skills seemed to crumble after elementry school.

The comments after Myrtle's post are good to. Stephanie from Texas sarcastically frames the issue in a way I hadn't even thought of before:

You silly. A persuasive argument requires an argument. A math problem is simply right, or wrong, and we move on. Didn't you know?

Math equations as persuasive arguments? Oh cool.

1 comment:

kitten said...

My oldest son can do Algerbra and other higher maths in his head and get the answers right. But with him going to college he needs to learn how to work it on paper. This process, he says, confusses him and takes too long. That is one reason that I'm goning to buy MUS in Feb.
I have never been able to do math in my head.