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"Learning something, no matter how complex, isn't hard when you have a reason to know it" Homer Hickman, Jr. (from the book Rocket Boys).

We have to give these children a reason to want to learn it. Show them it is fun, exciting, and interesting. Most importantly, make them believe they are capable.

I agree we are in so much trouble right now and it is our children who will suffer the most. But it is our fault and we need to fix it fast.

Well this might have been an interesting blog but apparently the contributors are more interested in making bigoted comments about against the state of Texas than actually clarifying a math or science issue. Texas is a leading state with regard to engineers - from petroleum engineers to civil engineers to electrical engineers. Of course, there is a substantial number of scientists and engineers in Clear Lake that work with NASA. In addition, there is something called The Medical Center in Houston, that is a huge medical complex if you haven't heard of it that has some of the most advanced medical research in the world. And of course Austin is filled with people that have advanced degrees in every field. So there is actually a huge complex of engineers, scientists, physicists, and medical doctors in Texas, as well as the academic system necessary to support it.

As far as the article you quoted, I bet if you took the time to investigate it instead of making snarky comments, you would find it was most likely written by a liberal with a journalism degree, who finds logic and math to be too logocentric or even phalocentric (if he/she had the right liberal or feminist professors). In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the journalist wasn't even from Dallas or Texas.

Now I don't know if you go around proofing the New York Times or the LA Times, but if you do I hope you don't generalize from the idiocy of the journalistic class as evidenced in many newspapers to the cities that happen to endure them. To do so would be irrational and a misapplication of simple logic. And you wouldn't want to be guilt of that would you?

Addendum to my previous comment.
Another aspect of using computer resources is given by Sugata Mitra at:
http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education.html
If he is right then perhaps, along with the other web sites I listed, we are working our way to a computerized Moore Method for elementary and high schoolers?

Maybe it would help if, when a child in school gets a problem wrong, teachers didn't just put a big X next to it and then move on to the next thing.
How about just putting a question mark next to the bits that are wrong and handing it back to the student? That combined with a more collaborative learning environment might work wonders.
Practice in figuring out how to get from incorrect to correct is at the core of maths.

I made the comment to my Pre-Calculus students that there should be a requirement to understand rates before being able to get one's driver's license. This came after a couple of the students could not understand how someone who drives for 30 minutes at 60 mph will have traveled 30 miles. With this additional part of the licensing process we would either have a more "math literate" society or a much greener society with a lot of people having to walk.

You might have mentioned the fact that a two year old who can toss a ball into a trash can has the capability to calculate extremely complex ballistics on the fly that would take you days to scratch out on a pad. Now there's the irony... Get off your high-horse. There are plenty of people with talents you do not have and will never, ever possess, like walking and chewing gum simultaneously. And lay off Texans. There are idiots in every state of the union and in every country on the planet. You are smarter than this.

I have a friend who is a writer. She was working on a history curriculum for fifth grade students and, because of the squirrely educational requirements these days, her history class needed to include a math lesson. So she wrote one, although she professes to be "hopeless at math." Then she sent the math lesson to me and asked me to double-check her answers to be sure they were correct!

This is an intelligent woman with a Masters degree! (I have a BA in English, btw.) She's not a best-selling author, but she's been published. Somehow she has avoided bankruptcy and IRS audits. But designing a few simple questions for fifth graders that used numbers seemed to flummox her! I was near despair. Thankfully she did get the right answers, else I might have given up hope.

I'm inclined to agree with FrauTech's comment: people have allowed themselves to be intimidated by mathematics, even simple arithmetic. Looking back, I am grateful that my Dad introduced me to baseball when I was nine years old, and taught me to calculate batting averages and even earned run averages soon after. By the time somebody told me that I was supposed to be afraid of math because I'm a girl, I'd gotten pretty good at it.

Agreed that people allow themselves to be overly intimidated by math. But like your friend, I would have asked someone to double check too, especially if it was for a class. Strikes me more as being careful.

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    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
    • Quantum Theory
      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.