Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Never Assume

Two cases:

1. A student was asking me about a linear speed problem in precalculus, and in the problem statement I had that the radius = 14". When I was probing him for the units of circumference, he hesitated a long time, and I pointed to 14", and he said, "oh, that looked like 14 to the 11th power." I KNOW I didn't even mention the notation for feet (') and inches ("). I didn't think it would be an issue.

2. In calculus, a student came in to practice for our next test. We have just covered the quotient rule and the product rule among other things. He was asking me when we know to used the quotient rule, and I was taken aback. I asked him what quotient means, and he didn't know. And this has been about a week or so since we started it. I KNOW I didn't expressly mention that a quotient was a division problem. I thought it was obvious from the statement of the rule.

Notations in my planbook reflections for next year.


  1. Anonymous5:26 AM

    I think the quotient thing is a lot scarier than the accidental exponent....if you don't know what a quotient is in calculus, that's kinda crazy--especially after I assume you gave them the definition that included something like, "if you have a function that is the quotient of two functions

  2. Anonymous12:57 PM

    I kNOW. I'm thinking it ALL seems like a foreign language to them (I have to be their cheerleader and keep boosting their confidence), so that it was just one extra piece of confusion to them.

    Ms. Cookie (who still has to teach fraction skills in calculus ..... but kids eventually get it and DO pass the exam)