Friday, March 17, 2017

Formulas

Geometry, Mathematics, Cube, Hexahedron  I assume most of you have to teach students to rewrite literal formulas in isolation because that is one of the standards we are required to teach.

What I don't understand is why that is necessary.  It makes more sense for most students to connect the literal formulas to real life use.

Lets face it, r*t=d and I = V/R are just a collection of letters to most people until its put in context.  We use literal equations all the time but not without values.

Most of us select the literal formula for the appropriate situation, substitute values to find the answer for the missing value.  I don't know of anyone who rewrites literal equations just for the fun of it.  Is it really important to rewrite I = V/R to I*R = V?  Isn't it more important to have students substitute values before solving? 

I don't think of rewriting the equation, I think of solving the equation with variables.  There are now calculators out there where you type in the values and the answer pops out without doing the calculations.

Why is this considered an important skill?  Why do we make students rewrite the literal equation in all its ways rather than focusing on showing you are solving a one step equation.  If we expect students to be good in mathematics, we need to provide more connections and more real life applications of what we are teaching.

I'm not even sure why this particular skill is still in the standards.  I wonder if it is there due to people who have a fond memory of doing this in school.  I thought it was a waste when I took math in high school and we are still making students learn this even though they can just find the missing value.

Is this necessary?  I don't think so.  I think its time to get rid of this particular standard and focus on more important things.

Let me know what you think.  I'm in transit till Tuesday.