Monday, August 13, 2007

High school math - 8/13

I spent a lot of time travelling and meeting new people this summer. It was a busy summer. I do remember one conversation that I had with a gentleman about teaching math in high school. His comment was that most people do not use high school math after they get out of school. Is this true? I know that a lot of the math that is learned in school would be more applicable to an engineer, but is it useful to a person who is working in a non-math related field? If high school math is giving exposure to students to try to push them into the fields that are math related, then should we be teaching something else to the "non-math" students? How could a math curriculum be changed to have more relevance to the real world? I have been questioning the need for all the things that are being taught to our students in the math curriculum and I wonder how much of what they learn is going to be used beyond the classroom walls. What else can be done in a classroom setting that can teach problem-solving, logic, reasoning, attention to detail, etc. that are learned from a math class without having to teach topics that might only be applicable to a future engineer?