Tag Archives: education

dear elementary school teachers,

Please, please, please, please do not, when doing examples on the board, use the equal sign (=) incorrectly. For instance:


1+136 etc.

Similarly, when simplifying fractions:

3 + 1 ⅜ = 4 4/8½

Is also wrong.

The “=” means “is equal to.” Please keep that in mind.

It will make my work a lot easier. Believe it or not, but your students copy your wrong work and do math that is wrong. Furthermore, they misunderstand the vital importance of setting everything on either side of the “=” equal. My guess is that this is why they find algebra so hard. And so, instead of grading homework that is blatantly wrong (that is part of my job at an after school tutoring center), I can whiz through so many more math worksheets in a minute that I might actually get some homework done.

Thank you if you’re reading this, elementary school teachers. And sorry, Elementary School Teacher, if you are reading this and use the “=” correctly. This was not aimed at you, but at all the rest who don’t.


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error: no access because high school students can’t learn about evolution, or they might get bad thoughts.

I was reading Pharyngula while I had some down time in school today. I tried clicking on this link, only to discover:

Basically Sarkar’s piece is a level-headed refute of attacks on evolution (Expelled). A quick look through the comments didn’t reveal anything hugely inflammatory. So why the block? Oh, that’s right. We’re corrupting our children through scientific thought. Gee. Evolution = “Political Extreme/Hate/Discrimination.” Not like, the KKK or anything (all last year, the KKK website was left unblocked, and also for the vast majority of this school year, as well).

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“That’s two answers!”

Today, at Quiz Bowl Districts:

“Find the y-intercept of the equation x^2 + 5x -15 = 0

Teammate buzzed in, is acknowledged: “(0, -15)”


Other team guessed wrong.

“The correct answer was negative 15.”

Obviously the team challenged the answer. The y-intercept of an equation is a point. A point can be expressed in coordinate form. The moderator was confused. She handed the answer guide over to the scorekeeper, who said:

“Oh, it’s been a while since I’ve done this [math]! Wait, but you guys said 0, -15. That’s two answers!”

We got our 5 points in the end, but not after a lot of convincing the moderator and the scorekeeper that “(0, -15)” and “the y-intercept is -15” is the same thing.

Even if it’d been a long time since they’d taken math, coordinate form shouldn’t be something that can be forgotten. I don’t know. But it’s not like points aren’t used in “real-world applications,” either. For instance, looking at and reading maps takes some knowledge of finding specific points.

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