Monday, July 20, 2020

Ask The Blogger: Do We Stick to the Curriculum?

Sure. We are always editing the curricula for our classes because we all have different experiences and we have different priorities.

I’ve got an engineering degree. I used math for practical reasons, doing hands-on problems. I want my students to understand why it’s necessary by doing the same kinds of things with the math that I did and that they will need to do in their futures.

To a math major, that’s a pentagon. It’s got an apothem, a radius, and a side length. To me, that’s a five-bolt pattern that needs to be milled into a block of aluminum for a wheel, and you measure it “this way, between the top bolt and the center of the third bolt”.

VT doesn’t mandate any curriculum, but our school has basically adopted the CCSS. It has some limited technology requirements, but I have kids use spreadsheets, DESMOS, wolframalpha, geogebra, laser transits, etc., whenever I can.

The statistics book and the SAT use examples that contain 12 data points. I like to give them ones that have at least 1000. Is spreadsheet facility a part of the standards? No, but my students come back and tell me how useful and helpful that knowledge is.

We’ve all got our strengths; we’ve got our preferences and dislikes for which courses we teach. We are always changing up what we teach if we think we can give our kids an edge.

Narrator: The curriculum is a minimum.

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