Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Math teaching methods annoyance 

So for my math teaching methods class, we're doing group presentations. My group is presenting on rational and irrational numbers. I came up with the (I thought) brilliant idea of organizing the lesson so that we would each teach the subject as if it were being brought up in a different class: Algebra, Geometry, PreCalc and Calculus. I had a great lesson where I would introduce Taylor's Theorem as a motivation towards doing the Taylor expansion of ex, thence finding an infinite series definition of e and then finally proving that e was irrational.

The prof vetos this idea. Suddenly we're teaching a single lesson to a 10th grade class. Everyone else's material can be easily adapted to this change, but mine not so much. I've got five minutes to come up with an alternative.

Which I do.

Instead of that proof, I decide that we can look at countability of infinite sets. The Math Circle in Boston does this with 6th graders so it's certainly within the grasp of 10th graders (although I intentionally move the proof that the cardinality of the set of reals is not equal to the cardinality of rationals into the "if time" section of the lesson--I'm not at the level of over-learning with this concept to be as comfortable with it as I'd like).

So I'm pretty happy with how I managed to dodge the bullet, but generally annoyed with how the class as a whole is being run. I'll be so happy to be done with all this education stuff and finally start teaching.

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