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F.O.I.L.

 
 
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 12:05 pm
I was flipping through the channels on TV the other day and happened across a regents math review. They were working on quadradic equations and how to solve them.

I remembered back to my high school days when Algebra was required and I trudged through learning all the important math that the state figured I needed to know.

Since graduation, I have 2 associate degrees, a bachelors in Biology, a Masters in Education, I have a job now that involves computers and is rather technical.

I have never, ever, had to know how to solve a quadratic equation since that 10th grade math class.

Has anyone else? What job would you have that would actually require you to solve quadratic equations other than being a 10th grade math teacher?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 1,084 • Replies: 13
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engineer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 12:10 pm
Engineering for one
Quote:
What job would you have that would actually require you to solve quadratic equations other than being a 10th grade math teacher?


I'm an engineer and have had to solve all manner of equations. Of course in these days of easy computing, it is easier to burn some CPU milliseconds for most of them.
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 12:55 pm
Interesting. What are you working on when the need comes up?
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 01:00 pm
I just graduated with a BS in math. Though I never have to foil anything in my job (as software engineer), the concept of putting things together (FOIL) and taking them apart (factoring) was often needed in my higher math classes. I guess I find all mathematical concepts useful in an abstract sense.
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BoGoWo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 01:05 pm
when knowledge becomes 'relevant', it is time to close all schools!

[the current curricuulum aimed at 'success' in consumerism 101, misses more than a few points.]
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 01:24 pm
FreeDuck wrote:
I just graduated with a BS in math. Though I never have to foil anything in my job (as software engineer), the concept of putting things together (FOIL) and taking them apart (factoring) was often needed in my higher math classes. I guess I find all mathematical concepts useful in an abstract sense.


Useful how though?

I can understand engineers, and certain other professions needing to know and understand higher math, but what percentage of people does that end up being? 2%? 5%?

Contrast that with a course in business math. Understanding percentages, how taxes work, how to balance a check book, how the stock market works, etc.

A course of this design is not required in the NYS curricilum, but algebra, trig, geometry is.

I have found that much of the higher math I was forced to learn has no practical everyday function, whereas the math I need to know, I was never taught.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 01:35 pm
Maybe that's because your grades were too good. In my somewhat limited experience I find that there are two parallel tracks for students. College prep and other. If you did well in math, it's likely that you learned algebra, trig and geometry as a preparation for the Calculus sequence you would be required to take in college. If your teachers/advisors/whoever believe it's not likely you will go to college, then you take courses like Consumer Math where you can learn the things you mention.

But in general I agree with you. I think that we should be teaching all students in high school business math and the fundamentals of the tax system.
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Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 02:11 pm
Bear in mind that the goal of our schools is to educate the students - not merely give them vocational training. Most people don't have a practical application for history either.
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 03:24 pm
History is good to know though. So is English, art, music, science, etc...

Math is also important to know, don't get me wrong. I have used lots of algebra and geometry, but little trig and no calculus.

But, in NYS, to receive a regents diploma you must go through "sequential math" and I find that much of it has no possible practicallity outside a few math centrist professions.

That level of math would be better suited for students at college level.

Meanwhile, we are creating graduates who can't balance a checkbook, figure out a 15% tip, or have a clue how interest rates on credit cards work.
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Vengoropatubus
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 05:27 pm
lol. Speaking of sequential math, I'm predicting a 75% chance of another "Lenny Conundrum" topic inundation.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 05:38 pm
Why does anyone need to know anything?

Does anyone other than a English teacher or writer need to know what a preposition is? Does anyone other than a librarian need to know who Shakespeare is?

Have you ever used your knowledge of George Washington in your profession or even your understanding of the Constitution (assuming you are not a politician).

I tend to think that education has intrinsic knowledge.

If you tell me your desired profession, I can tell you the two or three areas of knowledge you need. I guess you can pretty much ignore anything else.

I think the alternative... giving citizesn a basic grasp of all of the areas of knowledge that are core to our society... is a good thing.

You should know how find the product of two sums.
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engineer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 08:00 pm
McGentrix wrote:
Interesting. What are you working on when the need comes up?


All sorts of problems, especially in control theory. Here is a "simple" one that came up in real life. I am making rods one meter in length. Our process produces a small amount of curvature in the rod measured my finding the deflection in the center of the rod from vertical. The deflection is usually very small, measured in tenths of a millimeter. I need to start making two meter rods instead of one meter. Assuming similar curvature on the longer length, how much should I expect the deflection to rise?
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raprap
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2005 05:00 am
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2005 06:37 am
Re: In Biology there's this thing called the Fibonacci numbe
raprap wrote:
Besides, IMO am education in math is an education in logic. A process that uses problem analysis that goes far beyond the mechanics that you claim as plebian applications of math.

Rap


Completely agree with this. Not to mention, how do you ever know at the time that you are learning something whether it will be useful in the conventional sense.
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