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The Maths Thread

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#331 Misterioso

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 17:42

In an ideal world, everyone would have access to great teachers with enough time and energy to get the message across, but we know that's not real life (no matter how much we hope it could be).  The lucky and the determined can take a second chance at success, but the answer isn't to make *everything* easier, so that the people who struggle can access it.

 

 

I'm not suggesting that things people struggle with should be made easier. But maths is considered a core subject in schools (ie everyone does it - or at least tries to!) so if a person of normal intelligence struggles, it surely must be the way the message is put across. I think that's what I was trying (badly) to say. I failed with a second attempt and even a third, and I am very far from stupid. I tried hard at my maths for the first attempt, but the teacher wasn't especially good, and by the third attempt I had given up even trying. I can do stuff I need to do (usually) and when I can't, OH bails me out. Letters make perfect sense to me and I love organising them and re-organising them (word puzzles and the like) but numbers just don't make sense in the same way, and people like me need better teachers to enable us to access it. But as you rightly say, that's life.  :wacko:


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#332 Splog

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 18:02

 

In an ideal world, everyone would have access to great teachers with enough time and energy to get the message across, but we know that's not real life (no matter how much we hope it could be).  The lucky and the determined can take a second chance at success, but the answer isn't to make *everything* easier, so that the people who struggle can access it.

 

 

I'm not suggesting that things people struggle with should be made easier. But maths is considered a core subject in schools (ie everyone does it - or at least tries to!) so if a person of normal intelligence struggles, it surely must be the way the message is put across. I think that's what I was trying (badly) to say. I failed with a second attempt and even a third, and I am very far from stupid. I tried hard at my maths for the first attempt, but the teacher wasn't especially good, and by the third attempt I had given up even trying. I can do stuff I need to do (usually) and when I can't, OH bails me out. Letters make perfect sense to me and I love organising them and re-organising them (word puzzles and the like) but numbers just don't make sense in the same way, and people like me need better teachers to enable us to access it. But as you rightly say, that's life.  :wacko:

 

 

Misterioso, I couldn't agree more with everything you say here. I was of course joking when I made my earlier statement. I want nothing more than to help people understand the amazing world that is maths. :D :wub:


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#333 BadStrad

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 19:55

Misterioso, hopefully you understood that I agree - it is the way the message is delivered that is often the problem. But I do also fear that to compensate exams will be made easierto keep up pass rates.

It is a great sadness to me that not everyone has access to good teaching for maths and English/Welsh. The great joy for me is seeing the lights come on when something suddenly clicks. One of my dreams is to set up a maths school so that people can understand what payday loan percentage interest means (and so on).
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#334 Splog

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 21:16

Misterioso, hopefully you understood that I agree - it is the way the message is delivered that is often the problem. But I do also fear that to compensate exams will be made easierto keep up pass rates.

It is a great sadness to me that not everyone has access to good teaching for maths and English/Welsh. The great joy for me is seeing the lights come on when something suddenly clicks. One of my dreams is to set up a maths school so that people can understand what payday loan percentage interest means (and so on).

If you set your school up, call me, and I'll come and teach at it. Cyrilla challenged us to find a way of teaching maths akin to the Kodaly way of teaching music. I've given it a lot of thought.


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#335 Cyrilla

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 22:12

Well, there just has to be a better way of teaching us than the way I was (not) taught.   I'm not completely stupid yet managed to fail every single maths test and exam in secondary school.

 

I said what I did to Splog because I didn't 'get' music, either - until I stumbled across Kodály in my mid-20s.   So, if Kodály can open the locked gate which was music to me, then there MUST be a way of opening the locked gate of maths, too.

 

:unsure:


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#336 Splog

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 22:27

Well, there just has to be a better way of teaching us than the way I was (not) taught.   I'm not completely stupid yet managed to fail every single maths test and exam in secondary school.

 

I said what I did to Splog because I didn't 'get' music, either - until I stumbled across Kodály in my mid-20s.   So, if Kodály can open the locked gate which was music to me, then there MUST be a way of opening the locked gate of maths, too.

 

:unsure:

I often wonder if I'm good at maths because I had a wonderful teacher. At least once every lesson she said "Maths is dead easy"

 

She even took a small part in the school panto once.

 

And her son taught me trombone for five years.


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#337 Hedgehog

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 21:11

We had an excellent maths teacher and the 3 of us who continued to A level did very well.  He was an ex-engineer I think and had removed himself from the mining industry to be a maths teacher in a convent grammar school.  We used up reams of paper doing one change to an equation (or similar) per line,but I'm sure our exam papers were a dream to mark.

 

However, there were a number of my friends who spent a lot of money on phone calls (to me) during the evenings requiring extra explanations for the homework, so presumably the clarity that I saw in the Maths lessons was rather cloudier for them!


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#338 elephant

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 13:10

For those who need to revise things from time to time (or learn new stuff) there are lots of good resources on youtube. I've found "Mr Nystrom" very good. He's terribly enthusiastic and seems to go fast but actually gives very clear explanations that stick. This isn't advertising his videos are free... just type in the subject your interested in + Mr Nystrom.


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#339 Misterioso

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 19:23

Here I am, resurrecting an old thread. Having bailed out with maths the last time, I am going to try again! (Please don't groan.)

 

Question 1:

BODMAS: Someone told me today that it could also be BOMDAS, or even BOMDSA. Is this right? Does it really not matter whether multiplication or division comes first? And likewise, with addition / subtraction?

 

Real mathematicians out there, please be patient with me. I think we've already safely discovered after 23 pages that I can't do maths. headdesk.gif


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#340 Splog

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 19:34

Yes, that is correct. But I wouldn't worry about learning lots of different acronyms. The division and multiplication are together, and the addition and subtraction are together.


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#341 fsharpminor

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 19:58

Yes, that is correct. But I wouldn't worry about learning lots of different acronyms. The division and multiplication are together, and the addition and subtraction are together.

Indeed Splog. I get fed up with people posting little exercises on Face Book, then half the solvers getting it wrong  because they do not know the BODMAS rule,  eg 3 + 4 (9-5) + 7 x 2 + 1.  The answer is 34.


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#342 Misterioso

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 20:32

 

Yes, that is correct. But I wouldn't worry about learning lots of different acronyms. The division and multiplication are together, and the addition and subtraction are together.

Indeed Splog. I get fed up with people posting little exercises on Face Book, then half the solvers getting it wrong  because they do not know the BODMAS rule,  eg 3 + 4 (9-5) + 7 x 2 + 1.  The answer is 34.

 

 

It is....?

So, is that 3 + 4 (ie 7) multiplied by (9 - 5) (ie 4) OR 3, plus 4 x 4? And how does one know? BODMAS seems to be irrelevant here, or there is something I'm not seeing. I got 39 on the first attempt, and 38 on the second.unsure.png


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#343 Maizie

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 21:06

BODMAS is completely relevant here - the 4 (9-5) has an 'invisible' multiplication sign in there, it mean 4 x (9-5).  So you do the 7 x 2 and the 4 x (9-5) first, then do the additions.  So it's 3 + 16 + 14 + 1 = 34


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#344 nigheandonn

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 21:54

To go back to the original question - have a think about it.
*Does* it matter?

Suppose you have 5 + 4 - 2.
If you do the addition first, you get 5 + 4 = 9, then 9 - 2 = 7
If you do the subtraction first, you get 4 - 2 = 2, then 5 + 2 = 7 - the same answer

Or suppose you have 3 * 4 / 2
If you do the multiplication first, you get 3 * 4 = 12, then 12 / 2 = 6
If you do the division first, you get 4 / 2 = 2, then 3 * 2 = 6 - the same answer

You can play about for yourself and see that it never makes a difference - multiplication and division are the same thing going in different directions, so it doesn't matter which way round you go, and so are addition and subtraction.

If I'm struggling to see *why* something is, I often find it helps to stick some numbers in and give it a go!

But if you start mixing up the two sets, you can show yourself that it does make a difference - suppose you have 3 * 5 + 4
If you do the multiplication first, you get 3 * 5 = 15, then 15 + 4 = 19
But if you do the addition first, you get 5 + 4 = 9, then 3 * 9 = 27 - which is different

So there has to be a rule for which set comes first, because if there wasn't, two people could do the same sum and get two different answers - and that's no use, because written maths is just another kind of language for communicating, and so it has to be clear what you mean when you write down a sum.

(There's no physical reason why multiplication and division come first, and not addition and subtraction - that's just something that mathematicians have agreed on, because they had to pick one order or the other to make their language work. Working out what is a physical fact and what is just a convention is the thing I find most baffling about maths!)


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#345 sbhoa

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 22:09

To go back to the original question - have a think about it.
*Does* it matter?

Suppose you have 5 + 4 - 2.
If you do the addition first, you get 5 + 4 = 9, then 9 - 2 = 7
If you do the subtraction first, you get 4 - 2 = 2, then 5 + 2 = 7 - the same answer

Or suppose you have 3 * 4 / 2
If you do the multiplication first, you get 3 * 4 = 12, then 12 / 2 = 6
If you do the division first, you get 4 / 2 = 2, then 3 * 2 = 6 - the same answer

You can play about for yourself and see that it never makes a difference - multiplication and division are the same thing going in different directions, so it doesn't matter which way round you go, and so are addition and subtraction.

If I'm struggling to see *why* something is, I often find it helps to stick some numbers in and give it a go!

But if you start mixing up the two sets, you can show yourself that it does make a difference - suppose you have 3 * 5 + 4
If you do the multiplication first, you get 3 * 5 = 15, then 15 + 4 = 19
But if you do the addition first, you get 5 + 4 = 9, then 3 * 9 = 27 - which is different

So there has to be a rule for which set comes first, because if there wasn't, two people could do the same sum and get two different answers - and that's no use, because written maths is just another kind of language for communicating, and so it has to be clear what you mean when you write down a sum.

(There's no physical reason why multiplication and division come first, and not addition and subtraction - that's just something that mathematicians have agreed on, because they had to pick one order or the other to make their language work. Working out what is a physical fact and what is just a convention is the thing I find most baffling about maths!)

So why not just write in the order it's meant to be calculated? If you write the multiplication/division first then you do it first and if you write the addition/subtraction first you do it that way round.


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