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Yesterday, 12:46 PM  #1 
diyAudio Member
Join Date: May 2007

Scottish crocodiles struggle with maths
See Crocodile maths question 'was challenging'  BBC News.
This was on a Scottish Higher paper, roughly equivalent to an English Alevel, presumably taken by pupils at about 18 years old. I think the necessary algebra and calculus would have been known by a 16yearold in my day, so this question could have appeared in an Olevel maths paper back then. I suspect that what the pupils objected to was the lack of any 'handholding' to guide them through the solution  they would have had to work out for themselves that the last part of the question required a simple differentiation. Modern pupils (and students) seem unable to do this. 
Yesterday, 01:05 PM  #2 
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Canandaigua, NY USA

The question is very poorly stated. The math isn't that tough but a few extra words to clarify what they meant would help.
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Yesterday, 01:17 PM  #3 
diyAudio Member

It did rather boggle me that is was seen to be so hard. part b I could understand if a few struggled with the differentiation, but does seem to indicate that the students were spoon fed techniques to use and expected questions in that format!

Yesterday, 01:18 PM  #4 
diyAudio Member
Join Date: May 2007

All they needed to do was work out that the two verbal descriptions corresponded to x=0 and x=20. Not that difficult for someone who expects to be obtaining a university degree in four years time.

Yesterday, 01:32 PM  #5 
diyAudio Moderator

Two issues:
1. In the civilized world, distance is measured in feet. 2. In the civilized world, the French unit of distance is spelled "meter." They also misspelled "minimized." Of course, these are people for whom bagpipes are music and haggis is food.
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“Instead of Rational Law, objective truths perceptible to any who will undergo the necessary intellectual discipline, Knowledge will degenerate into a riot of subjective visions. . ."  Auden 
Yesterday, 01:53 PM  #6 
diyAudio Member
Join Date: May 2007

I'm sure an American translation can be made available for those pupils whose mother tongue is not standard English.
Perhaps a bigger problem is that children who have not studied biology to the required level might not understand that crocodiles can swim, that "prey" can refer to horsey looking creatures with funny stripes, while those who have studied physics may wonder why the time is measured in tenths of seconds instead of the SI standard seconds or ms. 
Yesterday, 01:59 PM  #7 
diyAudio Moderator

It's a pity that this tiny isolated island is unable to adopt the proper English spoken by approximately an order of magnitude more people. But first things first, they need to learn how to cook, do dentistry, and design reliable automobiles. Then we can work on teaching them proper English. Despite this prioritization, I did provide a translation table for at least one textbook on tubes. Oh yes, they need to learn what "tubes" are, as well.
Basic algebra and calculus in the modern era of education are a dream, a phantasm. I spent some time last night trying to help my son with his math homework, and ended up despairing for our future.
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“Instead of Rational Law, objective truths perceptible to any who will undergo the necessary intellectual discipline, Knowledge will degenerate into a riot of subjective visions. . ."  Auden 
Yesterday, 02:08 PM  #8 
diyAudio Member

I have one daughter who is better at sums than me and studying it at Uni, one who has not chosen it for Alevels and one who doesn't like it, but I make her plug on as she wants to be a midwife and I have pointed out that basic numeracy and biology are rather important.
Who knows what the boy child will be like. 
Yesterday, 02:17 PM  #9 
diyAudio Member
Join Date: May 2007

Perhaps I can add to SY's list the need for us to learn what "math" is. Why do people over there say "math" but not "physic"?

Yesterday, 02:26 PM  #10 
diyAudio Member

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXx2VVSWDMo time for some Tom Lehrer?

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