Bringing you all the STEM news that's fit to print.
Questions Arise About the Need for Algebra 2 for all, EdWeek, June 12
Algebra 2, often considered the gateway to higher-level math, is coming under a great deal of scrutiny, despite the increasing rigor of adopted standards. EdWeek takes a look at why states such as Florida and Texas, which have recently struck it from high-school graduation requirements, are backing away from the rigorous course. We recently took a look at states' graduation requirements, noting tha many are too weak to align to Common Core. And given the opportunities that Algebra 2 provides for both careers and college, we're disappointed in the steps certain states are taking.
The Faulty Logic of the 'Math Wars', New York Times, June 16
In the last 10 years or so, math pedagogy has shifted it focused from computation to deep numerical understanding, particularly in the younger grades. This editorial hits back at this transition, arguing that the purpose of math instruction should be rigor and discipline so students can confidently and competently execute the most efficient algorithm. For instance, in addition, that would be stacking the numbers and producing a sum. Today, students may get two quantities and be asked to translate them into base-10 before adding, or be asked to use a grouping strategy instead. Proponents of the new pedagogy argue that newer methods allow students to better understand the why along with the how. While the authors argue persuasively how this is not necessarily just the domain of newer teaching methods, one must wonder whether, in today's highly pressurized testing environment, a focus solely on the algorithms might devolve into rote memorization, leaving students ill-equipped to handle higher-level math.
Remembering Astronaut Sally Ride's Historic Journey, NPR, June 18
Today is the anniversary of Sally Ride's historic space flight. The first woman in space, Sally later became a high-profile advocate for women in STEM and a founding board member of Change the Equation before her death last year.
Firebrand for Science, and Big Man on Campus, New York Times, June 17
Bill Nye introduced a generation of kids to the wonders of science, and now he's setting out to defend science to that very same generation. Worried about what he considers the politicalization of issues like climate change and the age of the earth, he's going directly to college students to make his case.