I think this would have been called a cubic rectangle when I was in school. By calling it a right rectangular prism, the student should understand the angles involved are all right angles and this is not a three-dimensional trapezoid of any kind.

It appears the current thinking on teaching math is that the concepts need to make sense to the students first, rather than the old ‘memorize this formula’ strategy they used with my parents. My own education fell somewhere in between the two, so I recognize the strategy they’re using to present the problem, but I am not at all familiar with the current terminology.

Richard and I have a friend who coaches the math team and teaches an honors math class in a high school here in Connecticut. He does not lecture. He presents real-world problems and coaxes his students to figure out how to go about solving them. If there is any lecturing going on, it’s learning the terminology for what they’re doing so they can communicate. His team does very well in competitions. I must admit I wish I had had at least one instructor like him when I was in school.

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Ouch!

On the RRL, it looked to me very like the gauntlet I ran in the 1960’s in Indiana, with the Four Horsemen of the Literary Apocalypse–Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck and Fitzgerald–as the summit of Literature, and no real change in politics or literary sensibility: just a thinning of everything pre-Faulkner–half the Shakespeare I was assigned, for instance–to make room for books largely chosen for the ethnicity of the authors. That said, three cheers for whoever tossed RED BADGE OF COURAGE and substituted KILLER ANGELS, and for the ditching of GREAT EXPECTATIONS and SILAS MARNER to be replaced with PRIDE & PREJUDICE and JANE EYRE.

Now if they could just have used a work of real science fiction instead of Bradbury…

]]>But it’s a real problem when art and history collide. Setting aside Shakespeare, think how many people and events are “known” from a film which got them completely wrong. ]]>

Pardon my mathematical ignorance, but isn’t “right rectangular” tautological? And I would have thought that “in the context of” life, the universe and everything, mathematical problems _are_ real-world problems and often, if not always, precisely the same things.

]]>Find the volume of a right rectangular prism with fractional edge lengths by packing it with unit cubes of the appropriate unit fraction edge lengths, and show that the volume is the same as would be found by multiplying the edge lengths of the prism. Apply the formulas V = l w h and V = b h to find volumes of right rectangular prisms with fractional edge lengths in the context of solving real-world and mathematical problems.

I’m not even sure what they are talking about. It seems rather advanced for that grade and its not clear if they intend it to be thought experiments or experiments with blocks.

As for knowledge based in teaching reading, I have been reading two alternate history novels which assume that Japan followed up the Pearl Harbor attack with a successful invasion and capture of the Hawaiian Islands. They would come across as very racist attacks on the Japanese unless the reader knew of the rape of Nanking, comfort women, the Bataan Death March and the Burma railroad among other things.

]]>I didn’t see much that related to extracting ideas from the literature and comparing them–but then I looked over the literature list, and decided there was no danger of a student picking up an unapproved idea. The fiction was VERY well chosen in that regard.

I’m sure the graduates will make productive subjects. ]]>