50 Shades of Math


I’m an advocate for teaching children in a manner that makes the material relevant to every day life. I remember thinking in geometry class, when am I ever going to use proofs? I might not be cranking out proofs, but it did help me to learn step-by-step logical analysis. Still, the most contextual math class I ever had was perhaps statistics, and even that is reaching. Math was math. I think there are some subjects that require far more background  before they can be used in a math class. It’s one thing to use real world examples and a whole other thing to try and teach two difficult subjects at the same time.

School was in session for just over a week before Mr. Smarty-Pants came home and asked me something that made me go, “HUH?”

They were learning ratios. In my opinion, this is not a difficult topic and I can think of multiple everyday examples without bringing up topics better fit for a science or health class. (Filling a weed eater with 32:1 gas:oil, altering a baking recipe, allocating money, to name a few.)

The teacher chose to use “teen life” issues as topics. These topics ranged from infant mortality, HIV, violent crimes, to this questionable topic.

First of all, in order to properly discuss STDs, one must teach sex-ed. Before teaching sex-ed, one must teach basic biology. They’ve yet to fully cover things like viruses, bacteria, and how the immune system and reproductive system work. Otherwise, a lot of information is tossed at kids and they comprehend only a tiny amount, and probably misconstrue even more. So even if the teacher has taught science, as this one claims to have done, she hasn’t taught it to these kids.

Even if Mr. Smarty-pants simply heard someone refer to the aforementioned questionable topic and it was not used in the class, I still do not feel the lesson was well planned. I taught him the concept of ratios in under a minute and he did not have lingering questions. The Pandora’s box of sex-ed takes weeks of teaching to cover everything. The teacher claims that no pornography (some of the unfiltered search results link to porn) or derogatory terms were used. Seeing as how she didn’t state outright that “bleepity-bleep” was not a topic, I beg to differ.

It isn’t real. It isn’t a scientific or medical term. Misinformation was taught. Yes, HIV involves a weakened immune system, but the other STD’s which she didn’t even touch upon, do not. So, her argument there was vague at best. She said there were pictures of “it” on an individual’s face. The pictures were either photoshopped or an individual with full blown AIDS suffering from an opportunistic infection. If they kids misunderstood what it was they were researching, it proves my my point that it was too much information for a simple math in class project.

She seemed to miss the point I was making. I never accused her of using pornography or teaching something which vilified female sexuality. I did point out that without properly explaining all of the information attached to that lesson, were a child to go home and Google these terms he or she would run across all of that and more.

Yes, I argued that this should be taught in a science and/or health class. She argued that she was “qualified to do her job” as she had a B.S. in Science and a master’s in education. I’m glad she is well qualified, but that wasn’t the point. She was on the defensive from the moment she made the call.  Sure, she can teach science, but it wasn’t science class. It was math class. Sometimes trying to “multitask” isn’t a good idea.

I liken it to teaching angles by having hormone addled kids play co-ed twister. Yeah, because they are so going to remember the math….not.

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5 responses to “50 Shades of Math

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