So in some sense the Grey's are wrong. They do rot your brain.

]]>Reminds me of a cartoon: A room full of students using computers, except for one child scribbling away.

Another child is at the teacher's desk saying "Please Miss ... it is *my* turn with the pen and paper!"

When I was at Uni we had to solve some simple formulas. The professor walked up and down while we did it. He then went to the front and said "Why don't you think when you use your calculators?" We protested but he continued: "I just saw some of you adding zero. And I also saw you multiplying by 1."

]]>As a teacher, I expect to be inspired by my pupil. If 'e can't inspire me to teach h', then 'e is not for me and I am not for h'.]]>

The muscle building aspect is a good analogy. When it really comes down to it that is probably the most important reason for doing any exercising physical or mental. Given the hatred for exercise in general it is now easy to understand that childs objection.

]]>Oh wow! So much to consider and so many questions. It would take a long time to address them all.

But here's where I stand on teaching maths:

When a 'reluctant_to_do_maths' child asks "What is the point?" ; "When will I ever use algebra again?", my answer is that the purpose of 'doing maths' is to make you think. Exam grades are just a way of proving that you must have done some thinking; the real benefit is that the grey matter has been stretched. If your brain is hurting from all that thinking, then it must be doing you good.

Analogy: An athlete may do weight training even though his/her sport is, say, long jump. Why? To build up some muscle / stamina /coordination. Doing algebra is one way of building up mental muscle.

Bob

]]>Here are a couple of interesting short articles on an important topic. I will not tell you what it is because you will not know until you read the articles. Many people will not bother and that is a stand of sorts too.

Isaac Asimov and Richard Feynman require no introductions. The Grey's are I believe are a father and son team. They are extremely gifted both intellectually and artistically. Let us see how brilliant minds analyze this problem.

http://downlode.org/Etext/power.html

http://www.theodoregray.com/BrainRot/

http://www.ee.ryerson.ca/~elf/abacus/feynman.html

A little humor for those who have not heard it.

An engineer, a mathematician, and a physicist are each sentenced to die by the guillotine. As the physicist is led to the guillotine, she decides that she'd like to observe the blade as it falls, perhaps to verify v=at, and she requests to be strapped in face up. The executioner agrees (why not? it all pays the same...), and straps her in. As the blade falls, it sticks about two thirds of the way down. Seeing this, the crowd cheers - the physicist must be innocent! So the executioner unstraps her and sets her free.

The mathematician is next. Being well versed in matters statistical (perhaps she is an actuary), she quickly asks to be placed face up as well - after all, the odds of it happening again are pretty good, especially if the initial conditions are similar. So the executioner obliges, and once again, the blade sticks about two thirds of the way down. Again the crowd cheers, and the mathematician is also set free.

Finally, the engineer. Not willing to do anything in public that is different from her peers, she, too, requests to be placed face up. As the executioner is strapping her in, she's looking up at the blade and studying the track in which it slides. As she does so, she notices something. "Do you see that?", she asks. "About one third the way up? If you fixed that there..."

With engineers, solving problems is not just a financially rewarding occupation, it's a compulsion.