Making things add up

The Minnesota Department of Education today announced the creation of nine centers around the state which will teach teachers in math and science. The teachers will then become teachers of other teachers.

“Whether you’re a teacher of 25 years or a teacher of one or two years,” Education Commissioner Alice Seagren said, “looking at the new math standards, aligning your curriculum, looking at the data around your kids – that helps every teacher no matter what year they’re in.”

The new math standards? How hard can they be?

The answer depends on how hard you find the following concepts and goals for teachers:

  • Use the relationship between conditional probabilities and relative frequencies in contingency tables. For example: A table that displays percentages relating gender (male or female) and handedness (right-handed or left-handed) can be used to determine the conditional probability of being left-handed, given that the gender is male.
  • Understand that the Law of Large Numbers expresses a relationship between the probabilities in a probability model and the experimental probabilities found by performing simulations or experiments involving the model.
  • Know the equation for the graph of a circle with radius r and center (h,k), (x – h)2 + (y – k)2 = r2, and justify this equation using the Pythagorean Theorem and properties of translations.
  • Represent relationships in various contexts using quadratic equations and inequalities. Solve quadratic equations and inequalities by appropriate methods including factoring, completing the square, graphing and the quadratic formula. Find non-real complex roots when they exist. Recognize that a particular solution may not be applicable in the original context. Know how to use calculators, graphing utilities or other technology to solve quadratic equations and inequalities.

    Those goals and samples are in the new math standards that are currently in draft stage in Minnesota. Find them here.

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