## Who Says Math Has to Be Boring? - NYTimes.com

#### Jared Sperli stashed this in education

**Stashed in:** Education!, Awesome, Math!, Education, Mathy, Education

i hated math class and it is a shame.

One of the biggest reasons for that lack of interest is that students have been turned off to the subjects as they move from kindergarten to high school. Many are being taught by teachers who have no particular expertise in the subjects. They are following outdated curriculums and textbooks. They become convinced they’re “no good at math,” that math and science are only for nerds, and fall behind.

That’s because the American system of teaching these subjects is broken. For all the reform campaigns over the years, most schools continue to teach math and science in an off-putting way that appeals only to the most fervent students. The mathematical sequence has changed little since the Sputnik era: arithmetic, pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, trigonometry and, for only 17 percent of students, calculus. Science is generally limited to the familiar trinity of biology, chemistry, physics and, occasionally, earth science.

Only 17 percent of students make it to calculus?!

Sad.

What makes me sad is that so often, we're not taught *why* math is important beyond high school or college. Need to know how much grass seed or paint to buy? You need math. Or even how much yarn you need to knit a sweater! If more people understood statistics, they'd know that if a poll says that with a +/-3% margin of error, Candidate A will get 38% of the votes, and Candidate B will get 42%...Candidate A might actually be ahead. Or why it's a huge mistake to tell the car salesman that you want a car and to pay $400 per month, rather than $20,000 total. Or why payday loans are SUCH a bad deal for people. Or why the $6 box of oatmeal might be cheaper than the one that's $5 (assuming that you're going to eat *all* of the oatmeal!). And so on.

10:23 AM Dec 08 2013