Nope, not something else about Web 2.0, technology in education, etc. just a simple observation about mathematics instruction in elementary schools in this country. One training I went to where the trainer described a Chinese educator’s consternation with America’s over-reliance on pies for fraction education (“too much round-food” was the quote).
I’ve run across this both in teaching fifth graders and in helping my fourth grade son with homework. Here is a classic example of how this goes wrong:
See the problems always ask the kids to “draw” a pie chart to compare the two fractions. As you can see, my son has poor drafting skills, so the pies are not equal, and the sections aren’t either. He’s comparing apples and oranges. I think the mistake we’re making is by first acting like the “wholes” of fractions being compared are equal, and then assuming when kids draw them, they are equal. I believe this is one of the antecedents of some of the crappy pie charts that get created in PowerPoint, where the context of whole is skewed or missing (I’m thinking of one that I made-check out slide 3).
What are your thoughts?