I have just recently viewed the February addition of The Best(?) of The Fischbowl 2007. The February post was titled "A Formula For Success?" and the topic was focused on math assessments. Every past, present, and future student knows that there is only one "right" answer to a math problem. We are faced with it everyday in the classrooms. Karl Fisch puts math assessments into a different perspective for all of his readers. He acknowledges that math skills are important, but the way they are presented makes the students feel like they are useless to them. Every student at one point in their life as said "Why do I have to do this? It's not like I will ever use it again." and I am also guilty of this same quote. Throughout this blog post you will find a better understanding of how math assessment questions should be presented.
In Karl's post he ask four simple questions for everyone that has graduated high school to answer. They are as followed:
1. Write down the quadratic formula from memory.
2. Assuming you were able to complete number one, explain what a, b and c stand for in the quadratic formula.
3. Assuming you were able to complete both number one and number two, explain –in detail - when, why, how and for what you would use the quadratic formula in a math class.
4. Assuming you were able to complete numbers one through three, now explain – in detail – when, why, how and for what real-world situation you would use the quadratic formula.
He asked these four questions to prove that not every math skill will be carried with a student throughout their lifetime. I completely agree with Karl when he says that we need to apply math problems to real world experiences. To finalize what his whole post is about, we as educators need to think of new ways to present problems to students. These problems need to associate with the "real-world" and not just with the next section or chapter in math. They need to be carried throughout the chapters of a thing we call life.
If you would like to read Karl Fisch's full blog post please visit: thefischbowl.blogspot.com/2007/02/formula-for-success.html
My answers to the four questions were are followed:
2. They are the coefficients of the polynomial function y = ax^2 + bx + c
3. All it is used for is to find the roots of a polynomial equation of the form y = ax^2 + bx + c, when it can not be simplified.
4. You can use it how to find the trajectory of a projectile while its in the air which is y(t) = vt - 1/2gt^2.