Learning (no kidding….)


I’ll preface this by saying I’m really tired tonight. We had testing, short classes, and the other usual loose ends. I planned what I thought was going to be a good short interesting lesson in introducing functions. So I started with the old IBM punch cards (googled the old images), and talked about the changes in data entry jobs, and how one card had information coded on it that wasn’t on any other card. Then we talked about hotel cards that are keyed to only one room, ATM codes, and other similar things.

Now a function is a math relationship where 1 input has ONLY 1 output: a hotel card will open only one specific room. I thought I had a good way to lead into this rather difficult concept. From the codes I then went into a quick look at binary code and how computers operate. Since we have just finished working with powers of 2, I thought base 2 might be interesting, and we could play around with translating some numbers.

All I was after for the kids was to see some practical applications of math concepts in everyday life. Silly me. I had students in each of the classes keep asking why we were working on this and when we would ever use it.

Aside from the fact that I was just trying to present an interesting introduction, I thought it might just be interesting material. But no. The kids overall saw no point to it.

Which brings me to my rant…..whatever happened to learning just because something is interesting? Granted I work with a very at-risk population, and I really make an attempt to show the practical side of the math they are learning. But sheesh…sometimes things are just cool.

Maybe it’s age. I still love to learn, and I don’t need a reason – “just because” is enough for me. It’s so sad that this love of learning just doesn’t seem to be spreading – everything has to have a reason and a purpose.

I’m a dinosaur….

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