Imagine replacing the sequence of algebra, geometry and calculus with a sequence of finance, data and basic engineering. In the finance course, students would learn the exponential function, use formulas in spreadsheets and study the budgets of people, companies and governments. In the data course, students would gather their own data sets and learn how, in fields as diverse as sports and medicine, larger samples give better estimates of averages. In the basic engineering course, students would learn the workings of engines, sound waves, TV signals and computers. Science and math were originally discovered together, and they are best learned together now.As people who use math as a tool to do science, I wanted to get your thoughts on this idea. May I propose two questions:
- One of the benefits of learning math is an ability to think abstractly rather than simply act as a calculator. Does teaching math in an applied context hurt the student's ability to think abstractly?
- In your experience, do high school math teachers have the technical background to effectively teach those courses?