Friday, September 12, 2008

A Learning Adventure

In my new grad school class called Technology and Learning, Gary Stager assigned us, his students, the task of composing a piece of music. The assignment asked:
Between now and next Monday, download Finale Notepad from http://www.finalenotepad.com and compose a piece of music. Share your reflections, questions and work-in-progress with your cadre members. Think about your own thinking and learning along the way. Make notes, keep a journal or blog if you wish. Feel free to use any resources at your disposal for inspiration or assistance. The more you share, the more you will learn. A few considerations: I realize there are better more powerful pieces of music composition available. However, Finale Notepad is 1) Free and 2) Cross-platform. Therefore, NO you can't use another piece of software (at least visible to the rest of us). Using a common tool provides a common experience and language for assisting/inspiring one another. Everyone has different experience levels and areas of expertise. This is what makes the learning adventures interesting.

I decided that rather than me creating the piece of music, it would be a great opportunity to connect music with literature. Gary gave me the suggestion of having the kids connect the piece of music to something they have written. Since we are reading William Shakespeare’s Macbeth in class, we had just completed two papers dealing with Macbeth and Lady Macbeth while watching three film versions (Royal Shakespeare Company -Ian McKellan, Dame Judy Dench, English Shakespeare Company- modern version, and Roman Polansky version) of the first act comparing what each director was trying to show through their interpretations.

My students were quite excited to begin the process of composing a piece of music to fit a character. In period 2, we started talking about Lady Macbeth and her personality. What would we want to show in the song? We decided that we would show her in three stages from act one. We would show her elation at seeing her husband return home, her decision to not let King Duncan leave the castle by killing him so that Macbeth would become king, and finally her anger at Macbeth with his ambivalence about killing the king. We had some students who are as musically inclined as I am and so they worked on the lyrics (a.k.a. quotes) to fit with the music as well as finding visuals to support. The other kids, worked on the song. Amazingly, they all worked so well together testing sounds, putting together measure after measure, playing the notes, time and again. They decided the instruments that would best describe Lady Macbeth (flute) and how her tone would change into a French horn through her change in personality. Then they picked the instruments that would best accompany the sounds of Lady Macbeth. A few different kids took turns running the computer with other kids shouting up their thoughts. It seemed like organized chaos. One thing I must add here is how much I learned by watching and participating with them. I learned all sorts of vocabulary word about music (crescendo, decrescendo, staccato) and how to semi-compose music (you really have to pay attention to the notes you select with each instrument). But mostly, what I am hoping period two took away from today, and what they learned, is that music is a part of literature. When talking with them about the song, they asked my opinion about a particular part. I said it needs to sound like murder. Tristan responded that murder is an A and C sharp. And then another student, John, responding that we need to put in the key of death which is apparently E flat? As my department members were listening into our conversation they were enthralled with what these kids were doing. They were connecting Lady Macbeth’s descent into evil with music. You can hear the three distinct parts which they had mapped out at the beginning of class. It was amazing that I had kids come in on their off-hours to finish the song -and better yet, these were all boys! Boys who were asking to continue the learning. One even asked me at the end if we could do this for every book we read. Tomorrow we are going to play it for the class, make changes, and add the lyrics and visuals.

I made a Photostory of the period 2 composition. I will also upload the orginal files here for period 2 and for period 5 of FinaleNotepad when they are completed. Here is an MP3 of period 2.

Additionally, here is a link to the webalbum of photos of their working. Check out their engagement!

Mapping of song in measures:
1-9 Lady Macbeth excited to see her husband return: happy, joyful, anxious
“Great Glamis! Worth Cawdor!
Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter!
They letters have transported me beyond
This ignorant present, and I feel now
The future in the instant “(1.5. 61-65).


10-15 Decrescendo: Lady Macbeth explains her plan to Macbeth to kill King Duncan
“Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be
What thou are promised: yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way: (1.5.15-18).


16-21 Decrescendo to psycho Lady Macbeth divided into happiness at the prospect of becoming queen (16-18) and as the timpani enters her descending into madness (18-21)
“ I have given suck, and know
How tender ‘tis to love the babe that milks me.
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums
And dashed the brains out, had I sworn as you
To have done this” ( 1.7.62-67).


Period 5: Witches
Period 5 approached the song writing a little differently. We talked about who they wanted to write a song about and they chose the witches from Macbeth. With the witches, we talked about musically how you would communicate what each of the witches is all about. They came up with three separate instruments making up the sound distinctively of each witch, but how when they come together, they sound somewhat harmonious. They discussed that the witches symbolize chaos, confusion, unsettling, anxious, and ugliness. Shakespeare wrote the witches speeches in a rhyming pattern and the kids decided that they needed this to carry over into their composition. We also mapped out the song into a three part format where the witches represent the past, present, and future for Macbeth. So, in composing the song, they are going to use the past in connection to the line from scene 1, “Fair is foul and foul is fair.” The next part of the song captures Macbeth’s prophecies from the witches: Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and then King. Finally, their song ends with the future, which is the witches’ desire to destroy Macbeth.

Overall reflection:
What was really interesting about the different approaches between my period 2 and period 5 is that it reflected how they have approached learning challenges in the class so far. Period 2 approached it collaboratively all working together, where period 5 broke into groups of music creators and lyrics composers. But with each group, I participated in awe of what they were doing. I felt so honored that they would do such exceptional work for me and with me. I truly feel so blessed to have been part of such an amazing experience. And then, to have kids thank me for giving them the opportunity brought home the reality of education. Why aren’t we extending more out of the box learning opportunities for our students? Why can’t them creating music to demonstrate their understanding of a character be just as good as writing a paper? Or completing a lab? Imagine if student had to write a song that demonstrates a chemical reaction? Or that expresses the emotions of soldiers dealing with returning home after serving in Vietnam. I really am so thankful to have been part of what my period 2 and 5 created. I hope the kids feel the same way. I know those who have expressed their opinions openly in class were so appreciative and enthusiastic. What a change in learning!

269 comments:

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Gary said...

So Ms. Smith...

You described a terrific teaching adventure. What sorts of learning did you do?

By the way, I carefully refrain from "assigning" anything.

Gary

annes said...

I thought I commented about that in my reflection. I learned on a variety of levels. I learned basic music theory, what it takes to put together a song, what different music terminology means. I also learned how differently my two classes work and how each of the classes saw my role. In period two, I was much more involved in deciding the layout of the score while period 5 seemed to want to do it on their own. I guess most importantly what I took away from this whole experience are the connections one can make using a very different method of assessment. While talking through our plan in period 2, as well as putting together the song over the past couple of days, I thought that this would be a fabulous task for my students to demonstrate their learning of a character or concept in a different way. I also learned what it was like to work collaboratively in such a dynamic group of musical experts. Most of my period 2 class is involved in band, orchestra, and choir and so their understanding of music theory greatly aided the rest of the class. I feel like I learned more about my students as well. I appreciated so much their willingness to try something new and their encouragement of me to try out the composition side as well. I really enjoyed them teaching me and being the student. Hopefully that helps you understand what I learned. And in reference to the "assignment" I know you would never assign anything; I rather enjoyed this adventure.

Gary said...

Cool! Thanks for the additional information.

MJohnson said...

Bravo! Bravo! You all did an amazing job with this learning adventure. I could really feel the emotion of the story through your composition. I am wondering how some of your students felt during this process and how much time was spent creating the piece. I'm trying this with my second graders and it is a wild experience! Again, wonderful job. I hope you continue to have fun learning adventures it class!

dij said...

Anne,
What a wonderful job you and your students did with this learning adventure. The music was great and very moving, so Macbeth like. That was “Awesome”.
I liked how you connect music with literature, that was geniuses to find a way to encouraged your students to develop their social, cognitive, and creative skills
What a way of demonstrating Progressive learning.

Great job you guys! I wish to hear more of your wonderful pieces, what can I say you got me hooked :)

Dijlah Benjamin

Maxe2012 said...

Period 2- I enjoyed the experience of making the music in class. Although I couldn't contribute much because i don't know much about music it was fun watching the class's creation come to life.

hannahg2012 said...

Composing a song in English class was a great experience. It was interesting to watch and see how everyone contributed. Many of my classmates knew exactly what notes to use and where to use them. I was really impressed. The song turned out great. I loved the idea of using Lady Macbeth as sort of a theme. It was easy because that is what we have been learning about. Overall I really enjoyed composing the song and I hope we can do it again.

leslieh2012 said...

It was hard to work together for me, because I have always seen writing in any form an individual thing. With music, i have a picture in my head, and I write that down, but this was a collabroative event. That was challanging, but I liked the way our project turned out.

TristanL said...

Period 2 -
I LOVED this opportunity to create music based on someone we were learning about in class. It gave me a wonderful new perspective on Lady Macbeth. I liked it so much, I came in for one and a half extra periods to continue to work on the piece. I was delighted by this chance. I also enjoyed working with my peers, like Robert and John. Together, our class created a wonderful and musical piece that I'm sure everyone could enjoy.

Brianc2012 said...

Period 2:When I helped with composing the song it was very fun and a big learning experience. I learned a lot more music vocabulary and how to make music. It was also a time to connect with others in the class and have fun making a song to express Macbeth.

Bayley said...

Well I was one of the student that happened to be musically inclined. But it still was such an amazing learning experiance. I've never really composed a piece This was so amazing to work with student to harmonise the melody and find notes that fit Lady Macbeth. It was amazing to watch this composition unfold in front of my eyes. And I worked on it! I think that we really pulled together to finish the piece. It was truely amazing.

ashleys2012 said...

It was a great honor to be part of making this masterpeice! It was fun to learn a different way.

robertc2012 said...

I was really suprised on how many kids in period 2 participated. I thought that just a few kids would be up by the computer doing the song by themselves, but practically everyone had input or advice. That was great.

jays2012 said...

I thought the experience of making a song in class was amazing! It was very fun and I learned a lot!

AustinW2012 said...

Period 2- I really enjoyed the fact that music was included in class because I've played the trumpet for a few years and I can't write music very well but I do understand it and I like to see how the parts interlock and come together to tell the story. Also, I think it was great how we all worked together to create it and each pitched ideas. "this is not learning as usual" -Ms. Smith. I think the fact that it is different helps us learn because it's not like every other class doing the same thing 5,000 times a day, the variety keeps us involved.

mariep2012 said...

I thought that it was such a great thing to do because it got us going and we all learned something about Lady Macbeth and each other. I was afraid at first that it was going to be difficult, but once that first note was put down, our ideas started to come and flow perfectly. Thanks everyone for making this so much fun and helping us all learn something!

Gary said...

So, do you think one lesson from this experience might be that a good teacher can teach anything from anything else?

carolynf2012 said...

I found this to be a very unique learning experience. At first when Ms. Smith proposed this idea I was unsure if it was going to be a success or not. Once we started up the song I realized that it was going to be a challenge and a group effort. I am quite musically inclined so I thought it was amazing to watch my two favorite subjects mesh into one. It was truly amazing how easily you can transfer words into music. When the idea was first proposed I could not really comprehend the idea of making a character into a song, but once we broke it down into bits and pieces everything fell into place. I really just want to thank Ms. Smith for the opportunity. I like learning this way.

chelseac2012 said...

Block 2 - I really enjoyed this learning experience. I know very little about music, though I do love it, and so didn’t say much to contribute. The piece turned out beautifully. While I observed from the side, I noticed how well the class worked together. Creating this was a lot easier than I had thought at first; classes can often be rowdy when they have fun activities to do. I really enjoyed this way of learning; it’s different and more hands-on. To me, being able to be creative with learning really helps the process.

johnc2012 said...

2nd Period- Well, I for one really enjoyed making this song. I still can't find out what the key of death is though! The song helped me especeiall get the order of events down in Macbeth.

In Response to gary, I don't neccessarily think that a teacher can switch subjects. Ms. Smith Said herself, "My eight grade band teacher asked me not to play. I have no musical talent." No offense Ms. Smith!

Thanks

John

sammiet2012 said...

Period 2- This was a great experience and I found that it made the crazy descent of Lady Macbeth's normality decrease just like the music got crazier. I am not very musically inclined so I wasn’t able to participate as much but I still found it to be very educational. It was amazing to listen to my classmates talk about how a certain part of the song should go. They would say things like, “that should be a C sharp not an A Flat.”, then they would try it out.

alexandriab2012 said...

Period 2:
I really enjoyed this activity that Ms. Smith gave us. I also am musically challenged (I can sing though) so I thought this activity was going to be really boring, however it was the opposite. I have a little music knowledge (when I sing I need to know when to decrease the volume, just enough it get by with) so, it was fun to be able to add my thoughts as well as add to others. Also when I wasn’t adding thoughts, I was finding quotes about Lady Macbeth. It was interesting to see what others took from the Macbeth play than what I took. It also was really cool to see how talented my other classmates were with composing a song; hearing the product was so cool because I’ve never seen someone write music before.

KyleL2012 said...

Period 2-I thought it was a great experience working with the music in the class. even though i wanted to use garage band, this program worked well too. I think that we (and we as in not me) came up with a great piece of imaginative music.

ericak2012 said...

Period 2-The experience on working on the song was amazing! Katie and I were in the back and Smith asked us to find quotes for the lyrics and to find pictures to describe how she is acting. This experience was amazing and really kinda helped us connect to the change with Lady Mac.

connorm said...

I thought that we did a good job composing our piece but i also thought more people could have gotten involved myself one of them. It seemed like our class had so musically talented people in it and they really took control. Also i would have rather had a different character to write about than Lady Macbeth. Second hours witches seemed like it would have made a more interesting song than what happened with Lady Macbeth.

-Connor period 2

Gary said...

I still think you learn best by making connections.

Smitty, as her frat brothers call her, may not be able to teach formal band or music theory, but she created a context in which you were able to compose music, regardless of your previous experience, and use that composition process to enhance your understanding of Lady McB (as they call her in the neighborhood).

Capice?

PeterH2012 said...

I highly enjoyed this unique learning experience because i could really see this as something i would need to know how to do. Whether for a later assignment, or for composing music with real instruments. It is always good to know how music works, and the different ways to make it because listening to it gives you a sense of respect for many artists out there.

PeterH2012 said...

I'm in period 2 by the way.

annes said...

Smitty here replying...

I answer to your question Gary about teaching anything from anything else, I would (sad to say) agree with you that it is all about the connections you can make. For example, I have had brilliant people try to teach me probablility and statistics in high school advanced math classes, but it came down to learning it form my friends because my teachers couldn't teach. They only knew how to explain the concepts one way: their way.

The way I see my role as a teacher is all about making those connections for my students and they in turn create further connections for me. Looking at the exmaple of creating this music, I wasn't a music composer, but I could put the right people in the right place to help me learn as well as the other members of the class.

I think it is all about making connections. After all both Dewey and Papert talk about the learning coming from our experiences. Our prior experiences shape our learning as we go along in order for us to construct new understandings of things we can't quite grasp the meanings of.

I love the question and am so glad John jumped into the conversation. Maybe we can start a weekly think question from Gary to my students.

austin d 2012 said...

This song describes are class and our ability to create. We work hard and the result is we come up with a wonderful piece of music that focuses on the work of Miss Smiths students and Macbeth. Making a song in class was a lot better then doing actual work, work. Thanks for the great learning oppertunity.

katieh2012 said...

Period 2- Well, as Erika said, she and I were the "quote collectors" in our period. We weren't directly involved with the musical process, but we gave the musicaly inclined students something to build on and vice versa.
This project really helped to clarify the character of Lady Macbeth and her progression in the story. It also was a wonderful opportunity to work together and break away from the mold (the class is already outside the box, though) of normal Shakepeare curriculum.

AllisonM2012 said...

Creating a song was a very different experience. Most students do not have the opportunity to translate their thoughts and feelings, in English, into a different outlet than just writing. The song also showed me how everyone could contribute worth while even if they are not musically inclined at all. There is always a need for every different point of view as well. Each of my peers had a different vision of what the song should sound like. When people shared their ideas, the song evolved into a piece that no one person could have created on their own.

nickb2012 said...

hour 2- It was an interesting learning experience and i have some experience in music, but it was still very interesting

PeterH2012 said...

Gary-

I do not agree that a teacher can switch subjects and do as good a job as a math teacher. I had a substitute just yesterday in math, and i have to say, it was hilarious! She really had no idea at all what she was talking about. She was trying to explain to us how to do the problem, but she was doing it all wrong. I do think that some teachers are able to adapt, and with a little help, they could teach a different subject, but i haven't seen an example of this. Have you?

Maxe2012 said...

Gary- I agree with John teachers can teach their topic very well but when it comes to other topics, (that they don't really know well) they don't do very well. During the music assignment ms. Smith didn't really teach us about making music. Classmates that already knew about music did. So, I don't really think that teachers can teach other subjects.

robertc2012 said...

Gary-
I think it's possible for a good teacher to teach a different subject or activity, as long as either the teacher or the students have some type of knowledge about the subject. If the teacher knows about the subject, then they can teach the kids. If the kids know something about the subject, then they can teach the teacher. It depends if the teacher wants to be taught something; he/she has to let the kids go ahead and show him/her what they know.

alexandriab2012 said...

Gary-
I think that any teacher can teach anything because Smitty was able to in class help us learn about music even though whe is musically challenged, my 5th grade teacher was able to teach us about english, math, science, and history even though some of those subjects were not her forte.

ericak2012 said...

It is very true that if teachers make the right connections that they can teach you anything. Depending on the connections that they make to the class, they can be a good teacher and make that class your favorite, simply because you understand. They could take any subject and make it so that it was interesting to you...when they do that, it's easier and for you to learn. The more fun you have when you are learning, the more you learn.

stephaniel2012 said...

Connor, I read your comment and I agree, a lot of people who had good ideas didn't get to put in their opinions. I thought that the assignment was good, but we all should have broken into smaller groups and composed our own song for any select character from Macbeth. I think with that many people involved, there was no way that we'd all be able to say what we wanted to and to add what we wanted to. It's just not possible!

I think that our piece did turn out really nice, I just wish that more people could get involved, like I said....

johnc2012 said...

Mr. Gary- I still think that a teacher teaches a certain subject for a reason, even if they have connections to other ares. My eighth grade math teacher, for example, spoke German as a second language. He was an excellent math teacher, but even though he fluently spoke German, He was not so succesful as a foreign Languages teacher. He taught an elective I was in, and, to be honest, I learned only how to say cheese (Kasse) and Hello (Gutentag). Although someone may have many connections to another felid, it still does not mean that they could teach that feild as well as another.

hannahg2012 said...

Responding to Gary- I don't necessarily believe that a good teacher can teach any subject. A good teacher may be able to draw connections from other subjects to help their students better understand what they're learning. I think that composing a song about Lady Macbeth helped me better understand her character and her role in the play.

TristanL said...

Mr. Stager: (With response to your question...) I do not agree with you. I'm sorry. I think that a teacher would need many years of student training to be able to switch subjects while teaching. I have proof of this...
During our musical experience, Ms. Smith had great ideas for the music. (No offense also, Ms. Smith...) But, the students did picked most of the rhythms and notes. It was still a great and inspiring experience, though. Ms. Smith is still a great teacher (probably my favorite...) but I do not think that teachers that know one subject cannot teach other subjects without the required training.

leslieh2012 said...

It puzzles my parents how every year my favorite subject changes wildly. This is because a good teacher can make anything interesting. In elementary school, when one teacher teaches all your classes, some teachers obviously are meant to only teach a few subjects. But really good teachers can make whatever they teach interesting, and apply it. Smith is a good teacher, and hence was able to use the music as a great tool.

stephaniel2012 said...

Alex and sort of Gary too - I don't think that a teacher can teach us anything. I think that when we were working on our song, that it wasn't Smitty that was teaching us, we were teaching each other. It was through Smitty that we had the opprotunity to learn though. A lot of the time we are learning from one another, even though we don't realize it, you know?

loganc2012 said...

Gary- I disagree with your point of view. A good teacher is not capable of such feats however an amazing one is. A good teacher is a teacher who stays within their comfort level to teach their specific subject, in a creative way. An amazing teacher is a teacher who can teach anything in anyway that it needs to be taught and still make it interesting for those learning.

AustinW2012 said...

Mr. Stager- I believe that a good teacher making connections to other things should be able to teach anything (provided they know it themselves). Every student has a different learning style and a different subject that they like best. For me the subject I usually like and do well in is the one where the teacher can change something into something that keeps it the same but at the same time is something I relate to better. For example, this piece of music helped me understand it because I have trouble with shakespeare unless it is "translated" and turning it into music really helped me. I think that if the teacher knows the subject themselves then if they can give different examples or different ways of teaching it they could teach the students anything. I think what also helps learning is when students want to learn something it goes much faster than forcing them to. For example, in seventh grade I had a class based on flight (which I love) and I learned everything quickly with little effort because I WANTED to learn it and I wasn't being forced to.

KyleL2012 said...

In Response to Gary's response to john's response to Gary, I feel that maybe teachers shouldn't branch out to where they are teaching more than one subject. i think that they may be able to make connections, like Gary said, but they shouldn't go as far as teaching another subject. the teacher is specialized to one subject, not 6. but making connections is important because it allows the student to have 1 big field of knowledge, and not just 4 smaller ones. that way one subject can "help bring up" the other 4.

carolynf2012 said...

Gary-
I think that a good teacher really can teach anything.If the teacher truly has the ability to teach one subject well than they can teach any subject well. Ms. Smith really has no musical talent as she herself has admitted. Ms. Smith apparently is good at and enjoys teaching English because she currently teaches us English and she does a very good job. And since Ms. Smith had the desire to try something new and teach us a little bit of music and English at the same time, she helped us make literary connections to music. I have begun to realize that you can make connections between two very different subjects, something I never really saw possible.

chelseac2012 said...

Gary –

I think whether a teacher can teach anything from other things all depends on that teacher and their style. For example, I used to hate science. Last year, my teacher was, not only one of the best science teachers, but one of the best teachers I have ever had. I really liked science last year because of the teacher. Sometimes, it might also depend on the class. If the students are willing to put forth more effort in learning more, the teacher could pull off educating the students even more than just that subject. In class, if connections can be made to another subject or to more tidbits of information, that’s great! But not all teachers can pull off teaching more than their comfort subject.

Laurao said...

This song was so interesting. As Ms. Smith said, it was organized chaos. Not to mention so much fun. We started off the period with some brainstorming action, coming up with the title and how to make it sound like the text. Then putting it together into an amazing song.
Replying to Gary… I believe that teachers are able and should be able to teach anything form anything else. If a student does not understand something, the teacher needs to make sure that they can help the student in different areas, making sure to apply it to the students’ life and way of learning, not how the teacher knows how to learn. I believe that this is what Smith was doing (along with getting her homework done) when we learned about Lady Macbeth in a different kind of way, we had never really seen the “super downfall” that Lady Macbeth went through until we put it into a song. That helped me to understand the character as well as the book so much better.
Thanks,
Laura

jays2012 said...

Gary,
A good teacher can teach in any form to their student. Some teachers can only teach their subject, others can transform what they teach into something that everyone can learn. If they are inspired to teach to their students, they should be able to teach it in any way. But, teachers cannot teach everything. If they don't know any clue on what they are teaching, and the students don't know what is going on, there won't be any progress in the assignment.

mariep2012 said...

In response to Gary’s question, I think that yes, a good teacher who really has a passion for teaching and helping our world expand and grow through it really could teach anything else. But, I do think that teachers have a certain subject or concept that they flourish in the most, and they can teach that the best, whether it’s because of pure knowledge or talent. That would explain why we have several teachers for different things at one school for example. When a teacher gets their kids going in a way that I really can’t grasp and get them to want to learn, then anything is possible.

nickb2012 said...

Mr. Stager, i am in ms. Smith's hour 2, and i beleive that a good teacher can change subjects and still be able to teach it, but this only if the teacher, or the students who are learning it, understand or have some experience with the new subject.

Nick

katieh2012 said...

Gary-

Regardng your comment about wheter or not a good teacher can teach anything, I have to say that I'm not totally in agreement. I feel like a teacher can do so if he/she has a good of understanding of the subject he or she wishes to teach. (For example, someone probably won't be able to teach a high school history class if he or she didn't pass history themselves...)

John made a good point about Ms. Smith and her lack of musical ability, yet we were still able to compose a piece of music in her class and learn from it. This is where your "making connections" piece comes in. Smith was able to connect the literature to the music, and she sort of let us go wild with it. I think in this case we were actually learning from and teaching those around us instead of listening to lectures or smply reading. If all teachers could make these types of connections, learning (as well as teaching) would become something brand new.

Katie

brianc2012 said...

Gary-
I think that if a teacher puts his or her mind to it he or she can teach any subject. They do have to be willing to work hard though, so they can learn what the subject really takes to teach it well. I once had a science teacher who, the next year, taught math and english and he did a fantastic job teaching a new subject. Another big part of that can be student support. You don't have to be a proffesional to teach just as long as the students get it and so that the teacher gets it. But just because a teacher can teach a subject it's different then teaching another subject good which is quite a feat.

stephaniel2012 said...

Leslie: I get what you're saying when you say that a good teacher can make anything interesting, but it doesn't always mean that we're learning something. For instance, in seventh grade I had the most amazing science teacher. She was hilarious and fun and energetic. But she didn't teach me squat. So even though I liked the class, I didn't really take anything from it.

Logan: I disagree slightly with your veiw on "amazing teachers". I think you're right in saying that amazing teachers can go outside of their comfort zone and teach what the students need to learn in a really interesting way. However, I don't think that there is any person on this entire planet that can teach anything in anyway and make it interesting, even if that was an exaggeration. Teachers can only go to some extent to teach what they need to teach.

AllisonM2012 said...

Gary, I agree with what you said about learning from connections. The other side of this argument is whether a teacher can make those connections to a student in different subjects. One teachers’ method of teaching may create connections with a student in that subject, while the connections may not be made as strongly in a different subject. With each subject a person must think with a different frame of mind. It is great to think creatively and create something different if you are writing a paper but if you were solving algebra equations, being creative probably wouldn’t give you the correct answer! If learning frame of minds’ is different, shouldn’t the teaching methods be too? Each teacher has their own style and best way of expanding their student s mind.

austin d 2012 said...

Gary-

Your question can be answered with another. Isn't it the students responsibility to learn from the teacher no matter the subject. Despite Smitty's lack of musical talent, wasn t it the students who came together and produced the piece. It's up to the kids to decide if there willing to put the work into the class. Mrs Smith showed ustus a possible path and we ran through it and came away with a learning expierence and a song of L.M.

TristanL said...

I agree with Stephanie and Connor. I really think that the class should have broken into groups to make their own songs. There would be more variety, and although some could be better than others, it would still have been fun. I am musically inclined, but I tried not to take too much control, so I decided to take notes on what the class was deciding. I did notice that some people were giving ideas more than others, and I wish that some people had spoken up a bit.

On that note, I have to say that not everyone could be heard. While typing those ENDLESS notes, I heard some great ideas, but they weren't exactly followed. Our final product was pretty good, but perhaps we could have gone down a different path (maybe better, maybe worse?) if we had listened to the other students in the class?

Finally, a note to Mr. Stager -
Can you do something like this assignment again? I believe it is very fun to help Ms. Smith (Or Smitty, as you call her...) on her projects like this. Thanks!!

sammiet2012 said...

Gary- I would have to agree that a good teacher can teach any subject if given the right materials. For if a teacher is given a book about flies and she/ he has the right mentality that teacher can teach us about flies. On the other end of the spectrum though is the teacher who is only good at teaching one subject. There is nothing wrong with this it just tells us that us as students are going to have to relate to her and what she relates to not the other way around. For example I relate best to soccer and a good teacher for me is one that no matter what subject they are teaching can relate what they are teaching to me and soccer.

stellab2012 said...

In response to Gary and Ms. Smith, I believe that teachers can teach anything but they may not be able to teach them well. Every teacher has one subject that fascinates them and that’s the one subject they can teach without problem. In sixth grade, my English teacher, Mr. Cobb, was so passionate for writing and working with children, but he also worked well with technology, science, history, and math. He was good at making connections between what we might have been reading and what classes were talking about in history because he learned that we learned better with connections. Also, if anyone was having issues with something on a computer, it was Cobb to the rescue. He taught he classes not everything he knew, but everything he was allowed and willing to teach and then some. Sometimes, when we, his students, didn’t believe him, we would look it up, and he would be right. Cobb entertained us with fun facts and kept us going with energy, and I think all teachers, when they really know and understand what they’re talking about, can teach anything from anything else, but it’s also the duty as a student to be willing to take in and accept learning this other information.
Just like Smith, when her classes began working on the song, a lot of us knew nothing about music but a lot of us did. We learned from each other by speaking out and listening to what one another had to say. Not only in learning how to create a good piece of art did we learn how to create music, but we learned a lot about each other and how to work together as a class, as a whole, although that wasn’t completely the intended goal.

connorm said...

Gary i think that a good teacher can teach anything from anything else and i have some examples for you. My mom is a teacher actually and she has taught a lot of different subjects over at Newton Middle School. When she started there she was teaching accelerated math. She eventually went to being a gym teacher then to a drama teacher. That is three very different subjects and she is a good teacher. Then she went to teaching Language Arts. Then She also taught History. Now she only teaches History. So my mom is a great teacher because she has taught a lot of GT classes before so she is pretty much a prime teacher for the job. She has also incorporated science in her teaching of the story of Shackleton. Then she has also taught a tree assignment where she took the students to our house and taught them from there. She is actually quite the extraordinary teacher. I think that you can definitely have a good teacher teach anything from anything.

ashleys2012 said...

Gary,

I agree with your statement when you say that “a good teacher can teach anything from anything else.” In my opinion, there are two types of teachers; the ones who teach and the ones who go beyond teaching, they inspire. Teaching is all about the inspiring students to learn. When this inspiration is received, students will have the will to learn. It is this will that drives students to success and it is all thanks to the teacher that gave them inspiration. If a good teacher has the power to inspire a student, they can teach anything.

A teacher can teach a student something and the student will learn it. However great teachers are the ones who will do exactly this and then turn around teach it in a whole other way.These are the teachers who inspire. These are the teachers who can teach anything from anything else.

Ashley

BernardoT2012 said...

I agree with Ms. Smith (Smitty, heh). Teaching is based on making connections. For instance, Pele was the greatest soccer player ever to take the be field. Along with this title he also recieved "worst teacher in the world". Pele could not teach any one anything because he couldn't connect with their lack of talent.

I think something can only be taught if the teacher and student have common ground to use. It's hard to explain the properties of a right triangle if the student doesn't know what a triangle is. I'm sure there's a philosophical saying that says this, but it is lost to me.

I also have to add my take on the song. Since everyone is being positive, I have to be cynical to balance it out (I believe every silver lining has a dark cloud). When we were creating the song, although everyone said something, only a few people were actually listened to. There were people who were excluded from the main opinion. Of course, most (if not all) people are going to deny it.

bayleyk2012 said...

Gary- A good teacher can't really teach any subject. But they should be able to make connections on any subject. They should make the most boring subjects interesting.

Smitty wouldn't be able to teach me music composistion. But she should be able to make connections with that subject.

btw, I'm in period 2

treyjb2012 said...

I believe this is true to some extent, Gary. However no matter how excellent a teacher is they simply cannot make, say, Math a fun subject. It simply cannot be done.

bens2012 said...

Gary,I definitley agree with your statement that a good teacher can teach kids anything, because i feel as if even i could teach other students certain things, not to mention an adult with a college education. However, their are instances where I'm confused with what a teacher is trying to explain to me, so only to a certain extent do I believe this

katiez2012 said...

Gary, I believe that any good teacher can teach anything. If they truly are a good teacher then they should really have the skills to be able to connect with whatever subject it is they are needing to teach. Ms. Smith is a English teacher and she still successfully tought us how to write a song. Isn't that the same as what a music teacher could do too? But it is also really up to the teacher to have to WANT to teach that other subject too. If they can't really get into it then they won't be so good at teaching it. Im in 5th hour just so you know.

kailynw2012 said...

In Elementary school one teacher does teach all subjects, and although everything is connected completely once a person moves on to higher level teachings it is great to be taught by someone who knows their information, throughly. So although it might be nice to have connections I would much rather have a expert opinion and start to make the connections myself, because more then anyone else I am responsible for my education. A pro swimmer probably cannot wrestle for beans. But it is when you have a pro swimmer teaching you how to swim that you learn better then an okay swimmer teaching you how to wrestle and swim.

kaelib2012 said...

Gary-

I think that it is very true that a teacher can teach anything from anything else. If a teacher is a good one, they should be able to have an experience in life, and come back to class the next day and teach their students from it. It is one of my favorite things when a teacher comes in and talks to us about an adventure they had the night before. It makes the class way more interesting, because you get to see that the tacher is human and they have lives too. If a teacher couldn't do this, they wouldn't be a very good teacher. They need to be able to take anything and teach anything else from it, or maybe they shouldn't be teaching because their students will never learn anything in their class.

NickM2012 said...

I think that a good teacher can teach anything from anything else. They just might not be able to teach it well, or as well as a professional could. It might be difficult and very challenging to both the students and the teacher, but it is possible. For example, when Mrs. Smith told us that we were going to make a song in english class, i said, "yeah right!" but as it turns out it was a huge success because a good teacher can teach/instruct on other subjects.

kinseym2012 said...

In response to Gary's question about teachers switching subjects, I don't think that teachers can switch and be successful. Teachers usually find one subject that they excel and continue in that field. Switching subjects is not always a good move.

For example, I went to a private school all through elementary school and had one teacher per grade (we were a really small school). My 5th grade teacher excelled in English, but when she had to teach us the other subjects she didn't do her best. I went to 6th grade (in a public school) lacking knowledge in Science, History, and Math.

I don't think that teachers should teach more than one subject. Of course they can, anyone could. but just because they can doesn't mean that they should.

treyjb2012 said...

On to seriosity. Well I agree with the connection analogy only partly. Sometimes it is not good to make a connection. for example in Macbeth if we were reading and smith said see that line. Ya see the word blood? Blood plasma contains a high concentration of iron. That would be wholly unnecessary

Megg2012 said...

Gary- I think that not all teachers know everything. Although I agree that a good teacher is all about connections, I also agree with Peter, that if you really want to learn how to do the distance formula, you need a teacher who knows just the right ways to teach it. They need expierience in the subject.
-period 5, Meg

kailynw2012 said...

One should not be judged on what they can not do but rather by what they can do and how well they do it.

bridgetL said...

I do believe that a good teacher can teach anything from anything else. A truly good teacher can help their students connect with what they are learning in new and creative ways. If a good teacher was given something, anything at all in any subject and told that they must use it in their lesson, they would be able to find an original way to connect that to their lesson. Often, using unrelated topics to connect to another topic is the best way for a student to learn because its originality is easy to remember. And isn’t that the goal of all teachers? For their students to learn and remember the curriculum? I had a science teacher last year who had umpteen million tricks that had nothing to do with science to help us remember information that would otherwise be very difficult to learn. He had word tricks, funny stories, and even a special dance for various scientific properties. Because of that I still remember other information I would have otherwise forgotten the moment I finished my final. Most kids I know that were also in his class would say that he was their best and favorite teacher. They could remember information in his class easier, and the variety of activities made class fun. If a teacher can be given an activity, and find a way to relate it to whatever topic they are teaching for their class, then I believe that they are the prime example of a great teacher.

justinp2012 said...

Gary,
I think that one lesson is connected to another in at least one way. Although Mrs Smith is 'musically challenged' (no offense), she managed to teach us Macbeth using it, which gave me a greataear understanding of the subject. By collapsing Macbeth into music, it has shown musically inclined people about Macbeth, and people who know a lot about Macbeth how to express certain things through music. I, having lived in England for 8 years and practically growing up in Shakespeare, could understand in more depth what Macbeth is all about and giving me further insight. It was an enjoyable experience, while learning a myriad of things.

katiez2012 said...

I also agree with Kailyn and how she talked about elementary school teachers. They do very well at teaching all subjects to kids even though some of them may not be their best subjects. That makes sense to me.

PaulAB2012 said...

Mr. Gary-Well I am not sure that a teacher can truly teach anything. For example I am not sure that Miss Smith could randomly start teaching Portuguese. However any teacher and any great thinker for that matter can use their previous world knowledge to connect to a subject. Most great teachers have the natural teaching skills and creativity to teach something in an effective and interesting way. So yes most teachers can connect to most information, teach their connection to that information and show students how to learn about that information. However not having an encompassing grasp on the information means that they cannot actually teach it because they do not have any understating of or ability in that area. This would require them to first learn about this area which opens a whole new idea because I think it is being taught the information that shows the teacher how to teach the information… if that makes sense.

leahf2012 said...

I think a GOOD teacher can teach any subject. A good teacher is understanding of a student's needs. If a teacher can apply what they know about a student rather than a particular subject to teaching, they really can teach anything they want. The truth is, the majority of teachers don't really know that much about what works and what doesn't in terms of teaching younger individuals. The teachers who know everything about a subject, but nothing about their students aren't necessarily the greatest teachers. Ms. Smith says that "a letter does not indicate how much you've learned", but a lot of teachers think the grade is the most important thing. I would take knowledge over an "A" any day.

lsadler2012 said...

Gary-

In response to your question that a good teacher can teach anything from anything, I agree to a certain extent. I believe that the 'ability' to teach anything, anytime, would make a great teacher, but this does not necessarily mean that a science teacher can teach American Literature and not feel over their head. You can however,use the resources you have to educate yourself and then be able to educate others around you. This leads to another skill, being able to teach the students how to teach themselves, if that is at all possible, which I believe that it totally is. All these conponents together would create a good teacher in my opinion.

brookem2012 said...

I think that a good teacher could teach anything, but a great teacher would be able to focus on one subject and really talk like they know it, and then relate it to other subjects and help the student make connections to other subjects on their own. It may sound like the great teacher is doing what the good teacher does, but the difference is that the good teacher would just teach the student what they needed to know about any topic. They would not go into the details and tell the student all of the little odd facts and speak as if they were there living with whatever they are talking about. It is possible for a teacher to teach multiple things, it just depends on how they do it that sets them apart from the other teachers.

kristenm2012 said...

Gary, though I agree with you in saying that a good teacher can teach anything from anything else, isn’t it also good to have one or two teachers that can’t? What would school be like if all teachers referred to the subjects taught in a students’ other classes? I have to say that I agree with what Chelsea says because the teacher that you have really determines weather or not you like the class.

bradyp2012 said...

I agree with the fact that a teacher can make connections to any subject to teach another subject. Making connections to help students learn is what i think is what the job of teaching means. Plus there are certain subjects that are kind of related because they can make many connections to each other. Subjects such as math and science are closely related. But in every subject there is all of the other subjects. There is always history, math, science and vocabulary in every subject. This means that a teacher can make connections with every subject to teach because they know a lot about every subject.

Zivenc2012 said...

Mr. Stager, I am a student in Mrs. Smith's English Honors class and I think that a good teacher can teach anything they know but not anything from anything. For example, my 4th grade teacher excelled at teaching in almost all subjects except for history and science because she was not particularly well educated in the subjects but she still was a great teacher. This goes to show that to be a good teacher you need to know what you’re teaching and not just teach a broad range of subjects without knowledge of what you’re teaching.

carolineb2012 said...

I disagree. I think that certain types of teachers are certain types of people. They have certain types of learning and teaching styles that vary and correspond with their subjects. For instance, I’ve found that math teachers and people who excel at subjects such as math are very organized people. They tend to be the kind of people who are “on the straight and narrow”. They are generally uncreative because their subjects don’t allow creativity. Not to say that math teachers don’t have creativity, it just cannot be put to use easily in that subject. In math there is one answer and one answer only. In subjects such as English students and teachers can have discussions and talk about different interpretations of different things. This allows for creative expression and metacognition, thinking about thinking. So, if you put an English teacher in a math classroom, what is the end the result? The students may learn, but they will not learn as well as if they had a teacher suited to their subject. You may say, well they are still learning, and isn’t that the point? But if they are not learning the subject as well as possible, what is the point of learning at all? So, to answer your question, a good teacher may be able to teach any subject, but perhaps not the full extent at which it should be taught, which defeats the purpose of learning if students are not learning and teachers are not teaching to their full ability. Let’s let teachers stick to their subject for now, the super teacher can be reserved to elementary schools where they can teach how to do simple addition AND how to write a paragraph.
-Caroline, Period 5

annas2012 said...

A teacher already has a lot of responsibility to teach their students. The teacher doesn’t need more of a responsibility to teach students everything. Many teachers teach only one subject, but they make connections. Connections are vital to learning. The best English teacher in the country could be horrible at teaching math or science but the students are getting the full experience. So a good teacher doesn’t have to teach anything from anything else, they just have to make connections to anything else and know their subjects inside and out.

SydneyR2012 said...

I completely agree with Ashley S, who wrote about the teachers who inspire. That comment brought upon an “A-ha” moment for me. I had always wondered what it was that set certain teachers apart from others. Now I finally get it! As I look back at this past month with Mrs. Smith, I’ve realized that I have learned so much more than just English. I have learned about how people think, about education on the world scale, and even that a class of freshman students can change the world. I’ve been forced to see many things in a different light than I have been trained to by my past English teachers. I definitely think that a good teacher is one that can inspire their class to learn new things, and if a class is inspired then there is so much more that the teacher can teach and draw connections to.

Sydney

jordang2012 said...

Personally i think that it was a really goof learning experience overall. People got to get involved in writing a piece of music, even when the had no experience in music altogether. I still think that it would have been better if we could have had more people who knew about music helping lead the group, rather than letting all of the rest just cut loose. By doing this, we had a very quiet oboe as the lead, a violin as a backup, and a contrabass as a "third wheel". The oboe can't carry a pitch very well. I don't think that a violin can really sound good, unless it is in an orchestra, personally. The Contrabass was good, until it was made to play 32nd notes all the time. We then had a Timpani, which played very quietly, and the same notes.

brianf2012 said...

Gary-
I agree that a good teacher can teach anything from anything else. Ms. Smith obviously had no idea how to make music, but as long as we are still learning the teacher does not necessarily have to have much knowledge of subject. Even when the teacher is behind the students for knowledge, the students could become the teachers. It has been said that students best learn by teaching others. If the student can teach someone else then they are ahead of the game. I am not saying teachers should try to be behind their students, but the students can learn more when the teacher lets them apply the knowledge they have learned. Also, the teacher can let the students teach a subject the teacher does not exactly understand. When the teacher proposes new ideas about a subject they can definitely help the students to learn and thus be good teachers.

annasophiar2012 said...

Gary,
Yes Smith did say that she has no musical talent and her band teacher said she should quit. Yet, you said that she managed to teach us in a musical environment, you also said that a good teacher connects with the students. Yes, Smith did connect with us but she mostly collaborated with us. What she did manage to teach us was how to get on to the site to create the music we were assigned. But, we, the students were the ones writing the music and creating the lyrics so I don’t think I would say she taught us that because we did that all on our own.
There are limits to this “a good teacher can teach anything from anything else.” Smith is good with technology, so she found out a way to create music with it, yet she didn’t actually create the music, we did. So how does that apply to a good teacher can teach anything if she isn’t really teaching? She is just guiding.

kelseyc2012 said...

Dear Gary,
How could a good teacher teach something they don't know. They have to have some sort of understanding. Before they can project their knowledge onto others they have to achieve knowledge first. If you had an apple and you were told to teach the meaning of life from that apple, could you? In addition to that if you had that apple and were told to teach it's lifecycle without having any prior knowledge, would you be able to? It is possible to make inferrences but you should not teach what you do not know. It is the same struggle with many scientist. They see life but cannot teach its origin or meaning. Given the right materials a good teacher should be able to relay a general understanding of a subject, but to teach anything from anything else is not comprehendable to me.

samis2012 said...

Gary,
I think that a good teacher is passionate about their subject. It's cool when they can sometimes relate other subjects to what they are learning in class, but if they don't know a whole lot about the subject they should stay away from that subject. For instance, if someone is an English teacher, they probably shouldn't start talking about physics unless they taught it before or were really interested in it.

jacobs2012 said...

Well Gary, I think that is an excellent question. Theoretically, yes a perfect teacher should be able to teach every subject and with any resources available. Unfortunately, there are no perfect teachers in this world and there are no perfect resources. You can’t tell me that you could teach people how to fly B2 stealth bombers by next Monday, right? Although this is an extreme example, it’s true. Some music teachers wouldn’t be able to teach Calculus right?

Karl Fisch said...

Great discussion everyone. I’m going to refrain (for now, and for once) from addressing Gary’s question directly, but I noticed several references to math class and math in general that I wanted you guys to think a little more about. As one example, carolineb2012 wrote "In math there is one answer and one answer only."(I’m not meaning to pick on carolineb, I think she just stated it the most succinctly.) I’m curious if all of you agree with that.

I’d ask you to consider two examples.

1. Global Climate Change – this is one humongous math problem. What’s the one right answer?

2. For folks that would argue that’s not relevant because it’s too “big” of a problem and we don’t address those in school (which is a rant for another time), here’s a simpler one. Multiple choice, even.

2 + 2 = ?

A. 4
B. 10
C. 11
D. All of the above.
E. None of the above.

If you choose to answer that one, I’d ask that you simply state your answer without explanation until everyone has had a chance to think about it.

Keep up the great discussion – I know I’m learning from it.

leahf2012 said...

1. The one right answer to global warming is what you think the right answer is
2 A.

kaelib2012 said...

I do think that most of the time, there is only one answer in math, especially in the area of math we are in now. The older we get, the more complicated the math problem gets, so sometimes there is more than one answer. When it comes to the problem of global climate change, that is a problem that is extremely large, and not just one person can solve it. There may be more than one answer, but that is because it is more than just a math problem. It really means you have to put together all different kinds of subjects to possibly get an answer to such a big problem.

For this math problem, I would say the answer is A

kinseym2012 said...

In math sometimes there are only one answer and other times there are more than one answer. Like in inequalities, for example, x has two values, the negative and the positive. That’s more than one. But in other math problems, there is only one possible answer that works. It really depends on the situation. We don’t have a solution to the global warming question because there are too many. But the answer to the second question (2+2=?) we do have the answer because there is only one answer (A). Having only one answer really depends on the situation and the problem your presented with.

kristenm2012 said...

Though I can see carolineb’s point of view, I do not agree with her. There can be multiple answers to one question, and there can also be multiple ways to come up with that answer. That leads me to question number 2, Global Climate Change, I do not believe that there is only one answer to that problem but I also believe that there are many ways to arrive to a conclusion of that topic. And the answer to 2+2 is A. 4.

bens2012 said...

Yeah, I do agree with Caroline, because in math whenever you have a test or homework, their is only one answer that credit is given to. I really cannot think of an example where two or more answers were correct in math.
For the next question I really can't help you with that. Although, I wouldn't really consider it a huge math problem, but more a huge problem in general.
Finally the last question is, A. or 4

bridgetL said...

If you choose to answer that one, I’d ask that you simply state your answer without explanation until everyone has had a chance to think about it.
To answer the first question, I believe that in math as a subject there is one answer in most cases. There are rules, and while some may have exceptions, it is not like in English where there seem to be exceptions to every rule. There are different ways to solve the problems, but the answers remain the same.
1. Considering global warming, there is not one right answer. But the problem in itself is not the math problem. There are many math problems and statistics involved in the problem and solution to global warming, but global warming itself is not a math problem at all. So, it does not really apply to the question. Big or small, it involves math, but is not a math problem.
2. 2+2 = 4

SydneyR2012 said...

I remember the first time I heard someone say that math was easy, because it was either the right answer or the wrong answer, and to get the problem right all you had to do was follow the rules of the equation. Ever since then I have thought of math that way, so yes, I do agree with Caroline.
I don’t think that Global Climate Change falls in the same category as what Caroline was referring to. Yes, Global Climate Change does involve math, but there’s also so much more to incorporate. Considering that I really don’t know much about this issue, I can’t comment on it very in depth.
To answer the multiple choice answer, I would say

A. 4

brookem2012 said...

I think that carolineb2012 was partly correct. It’s true that there is only one answer to a math problem, but how was that answer found first? How did the first person that had to solve a certain type of problem figure out that the answer is the correct answer. Also, sure, there is only one correct answer but there are several ways to get there.

1. I don’t think that there is a right answer. There are so many things that can be done, but most of them have other side effects that could cause other problems and then we would be back to the beginning with a problem…So there is no right answer.
2. 2+2=??
D. All of the above

justinp2012 said...

I disagree with Caroline, because there are many different solutions to almost everything, including Math. Caroline has a point when she says that there is one solution to some though,
There are multiple solutions to Global Warming. Reducing the usage of gas, increasing natural resources, and saving energy are just some ways of reducing Global Warming, but not just one is correct. There are multiple answers to one problem.
For the simpler math, there is also more than one answer, although it is very complicated to answer.

Megg2012 said...

2+2 is of course, 4! We learned that in 1st grade, and that example has been used ever since.
I think in some cases there is only one answer, but in the case of square roots, the square root of 64 is, at first response 8, but it also is -8. Another example is an inequality. Some solutions for inequalities are endless. Such as X is greater than 2. That means that X can be any number greater than 2. So, as you can see, in some cases, there is more than one right answer. My point here is that math is not quite like English. In English, there are endless writing techniques and styles, and because we are all individuals, our voice is different in each paper. Also, our ideas on different questions may be interoperated differently.

treyjb2012 said...

I sincerely agree. Although I'm not a large fan of math it is very applicable to the everyday world. And as you said it can help us solve huge problems like global warming. In math class there is only one answer. The real world is not a math class. Advanced mathematically oriented problems have more than one answer a lot of the time. To say that all math problems have one answer is wrong. Some people might say since everyone had their own way of doing it there were different answers but everyone still comes to one answer (in math class that is). Real life is different. Nothing has just one answer.

NickM2012 said...

I don't completely agree with CarolineB because there sometimes can be more than one answer that works for a certain math problem. For example, there is one type of math problem or equation that can have two possible outcomes (I can't think of the name, it’s too late in the day). For Mr. Fisch's first thing to consider: I don't know if there is a right answer to this question. This is a broad topic and would take many right answers to stop Global Warming. It's going to take the entire world to do something about this. For his second question, the answer is 4. Unless there is something else like an exponent hidden somewhere the answer will only be 4. This is not one the equations that I was talking about earlier that can have more than one answer.

annasophiar2012 said...

Mr. Fisch
I personally don’t like math, maybe because there is only one answer. I like different opinions and different views on things.

I agree with A.

There is no one right answer to Global climate change because we do not know exactly what is causing it.

jonathanp2012 said...

I agree with coroline that math has one answer and one answer only when it is directly from a book that you are answering questions from but when you are talking about real life situations where you have to use math, then their is more than one answer to a problem not just one. Glbal climate change is an example of what I mean when I say that there is more than one solution for "math" problems of real life situations. 2+2= A.4

Zivenc2012 said...

Dear, Karl
I think Caroline is correct in stating that “in math there is only one answer” but there are many different ways to get to that answer. I also think that there is not a wrong way to get to the right answer.
1. The right answer to global warming is to stop it but there are numerous ways to stop it and there is not a “right” way to get there.
2. A

bradyp2012 said...

I would agree and disagree with caroline. In parts of math there is only one answer but in other areas there are often more than one answer. For example if a problem solving question does not have enough information then there will be several answers. This is why people came up with certain equations to so there can be a possible answer.For example 2+x= could be any number of answers, but if x=2 then the only answer will be 4. You can substitute any number for x to come up with a specific answer. So for Global Warming there is going to be many equations to come up with a solution for global warming.

jordang2012 said...

Global Climate Change is definitely a big problem, or it might not be. Back in the 1960's there was said that there was going to be a global ice age. We all would freeze, and all life would cease to exist, unless you were thoroughly prepared, but there was no ice age. Later there was said that there would be a nuclear holocaust, and all life would cease to exist again. We all had to get bomb shelters, and food, because we needed to be prepared. There was no nuclear holocaust. Now we are being told that we all are going to burn up and/or drown. I am a little confused.

kailynw2012 said...

I think that in math, and in life there is never one answer and never one way to reach that answer. However, I do think there is a fine line between right and wrong. And that's what math is really about the wrong answer is defiantly wrong, there's a fine line. For global warming there's a lot of different components and things to solve.

2. On the context I am probably wrong, but A. 2+2=4

carolineb2012 said...

To answer the second question, A. 2+2=4
To answer the first question, global warming may involve math, but it clearly involves other things too. They all need to be used together to solve the problem. However, even though these things need to be used in conjunction with each other that does not necessarily mean that they need to be TAUGHT in conjunction with each other. I still think that subjects should be taught on the to learn the subject, and once the subject is learned, it can be used in conjunction with other subjects. For instance, we learned to make a graph in math class, and THEN we used our graph making skills in science. We did not learn how to graph by being in science class and then adding in a little math because it would then be thought of only through science and not necessarily in graphing as a whole

lsadler2012 said...

Mr. Fisch

Its obvious that thers is only one definite answer in math. There are times though when the rules change and the answers aren't that simple. If your meaning in technical terms then there are infinte answers in equations that will result in may numbers. So no, I don't think there is always, strictly one final and unarguable answer. There's always a loop hole. Switching gears and discussing a bigger issue, global warming. This is the more deliacate subject with more and more answers that people are presenting. Are they all right? In my opinion there is no right or wrong answer, but all the presented answers combined in one giant effort.

2+2=4

samis2012 said...

I think it depends on the math problem, if you are dealing with simple math, like 3+7=10, then there is only one answer. But when you get into higher level math and start with absolute value and graphing inequalities, then you can have multiple answers.
When you are talking about global warming I think it’s more than just one huge math problem, I think it’s a bunch of smaller ones that have an infinite number of answers.
2. A. 4

katiez2012 said...

Whether or not there is more than one answer to a math problem really depends on the type of math problem. When it comes to simple arithmetic such as 2+2 there is only one correct answer which would be A; 4

PaulAB2012 said...

Well I think this is an interesting question. Math is definitely a complex and mysterious thing. Obviously I think a single math problem has only one possible answer. This is one of the major purposes of math to find solutions and simplify complex problems. So yes 2 and 2 is 4 and only 4 (though something tells me you are going to show us that it is not...). Anyway I don’t think Global Warming is necessarily a math problem. Instead it is a scientific problem in which we can use math to figure out what we need to do to solve it. Math is a way of simplifying and figuring out the mysteries of our world. Indeed in order to solve global warming we first need to establish what the problem is . We then can use math to figure out what needs to be done to solve it. Also though as I said I don’t think global warming is a math problem per se I think it could have one right answer. This is because it is a series of problems and once you solve them all you would accomplish the same goal which is finding the answer to or solving global warming. There are many different ways this can be accomplished just like there are many ways to solve any math problem but they all meet the same math answer. Sorry that’s confusing…. Anyway it’s a simple math problem and does have one right answer but it sort of isn’t because it requires more then math

brianf2012 said...

1. Global Warming is not only a math problem, but also a scientific problem. Global warming is more of a scientific problem where math was applied to aid in solving it. There is not one answer for global warming, but it is not necessarily a math problem. Caroline was talking about defined math problems and that there is only one true answer. There are many answers, but not all are right that is the difference between math and science. In science everyone could get a different answer and all still be right. In math there is one answer that is right and that is that. There is no gray area in math by itself, but once science and math are used together things get more complicated.
2. A.

annas2012 said...

I do not agree. In certain math problems, there are more than one answer. For example, absolute value. I believe Global Climate change has no answer. As I have said there may be a right answer but there are other options and wrong answers. 2+2=4 (A)

alisonr2012 said...

I agree that in math there is only one answer. If there were multiple answers in math then there would not be a right or wrong answer. In other situations there is always more than one answer. If there was only one answer then everyone would always make mistakes and we would not get anywhere. We are always improving so we are either always getting the correct answers or there is more than one answer. Global warming is both a scientific and mathematical problem. There are numerous was to stop it but there is not a right way to do it.
2+2=4

Gary said...

AlisonR,

I sincerely hope you are not being taught that in math there is only one reason. That may be true for math or arithmetic, but certainly not mathematics.

jacobs2012 said...

Good question Mr. Fisch.
1: There is no answer to global warming because it doesn’t exist, per say. It’s NOT caused by humans. Al Gore is wrong! Leave it be. It’s only an issue because you’re making it an issue.
2: 2+2=4

kailynw2012 said...

Jacob, out of curiosity what do you think global warming is caused by then? Does all the pollution just evaporate, I defiantly don't think I agree. I agree that we shouldn't get fearful and nervous about every little thing, but I also think that it is important to be aware and not ignorant of these issues, because how do you know they aren't real?
Please don't take any personal offense, I am just trying to challenge you.
One last question, are your parents fully behind Global Warming prevention?

Mr Fisch, I thought about this more and I think I might believe that its d). It's probably cheating to change my mind, but I will have to chance that.

Karl Fisch said...

In case "Smitty" forgot to mention it to 5th period today, I'm refraining from commenting further until 2nd period has a chance to take a whack at me.

But I did feel the need to jump in and reply briefly to jacobs. First, I wrote Global Climate Change, you decided to interpret that as global warming. Interesting.

Second, I'm pretty sure it's an issue with or without my help. :-)

In any event, I think you would be better served by addressing the mathematics-related question I was trying to raise, no matter your opinion on the issue.

robertc2012 said...

Responding to Mr. Fisch’s second question, 2+2 is both 4 and none of the above because two plus two is a ballerina because ballerinas wear two-twos (tutus). That’s not a very good answer, but with a little creativity you can come up with interesting responses.
Sorry about that; I couldn't help it.

carolynf2012 said...

Mr. Fisch,
I do agree with Caroline in the fact that I think there is one answer and one answer only in math. However, I don't believe that there is only one solution. Usually when you use math you are trying to find the certain number or effect. But once you find the answer, YOU have to figure out what to do with it.
1.The one right answer is that we need to fix global warming. We just do not quite know the solution yet.
2. A.4

ericak2012 said...

Mister Karl- Caroline stated that in math there is one answer and one answer only. This is true, there is only one answer, but there is more than one way to find the answer. The way to find the answer can differ, although the solution is always going to be the same. But this is only true as far as number math goes. There are other sorts of math problems that have more than one answer.

There isn't one correct answer, there is a sort of cause and effect thing going on with global climate change, because of this, there is more than one correct answer to it.

A

hannahg2012 said...

Mr. Fisch-
With math, I believe that there is always a right answer. Now there might be some exceptions but when you look at the big picture, most problems in math have one set answer.
However, I don't think that there is one right answer to the Global Climate Change. This big problem is one of those exceptions. I think the problem is so widespread that there is not just one solution to it.
A. 4

stephaniel2012 said...

Hey, Fisch, I think that the quote: "there is only one answer" is incorrect. We are still venturing into all sorts of forms of math because there is so much of it that we don't understand. For all of our knowledge or perhaps not, we don't know if that's really the one and only answer. No one can really say, in my opinion, because you never know.

As far as the Global Climate Change question... well, my answer is much the same as I put before. We just don't know. You can calculate every last detail, and in the last minute, when you think that you have the answer, the universe can throw a wrench at you and suddenly, all your calculations are off. You just never know. Nobody really always is 100% sure, even with your next question. Who is to say that in ninety five or a hundred years, there isn't more than one answer for 'what is 2+2.'

But, I live right now. So the answer is 4. Which is A.

brianc2012 said...

Karl-
I think that 99% of the time in math, there is only one right answer. With global warming the answer is what you beleive the answer should be. Global warming is so huge that there can't be just one answer to solve it. The answer for the question is A.

stellab2012 said...

Mr. Fisch -
I do not agree that every math problem has only one answer. Just today there was a math problem in geometry that where we could pick one of two points on a graph to make a parallelogram. One of two answers could have been correct.
To answer your question about global climate change, I think that there is more than one answer but many are addressed less than others. Pepole believe in "going green" now to help the environment. They tell us to ride bikes to school or work instead of taking cars, or to carpool to pollute less, but there are many ways we can "go green" to change the climate change. "Going green" can be considered one large answer, but it contains letters A B and C within it.
Lastly, 2+2 is 4.

jays2012 said...

Math through a book has one answer. They give you the variables, the signs, and the numbers. In the real world, math has more than one answer. There is no set numbers in the world. You make up the numbers as you go. Global Warming is a huge math problem. There is more than one answer to it. We can prevent it, or we can help it. It's just the way that we choose. For the second question, 2 + 2 = 4.

KyleL2012 said...

well to response to the math question, 2+2=4, so A, but in the first question, it involves many variables, so there are many answers. Math isn't always 1 answer when it involves variables. so like if x=y, then there are many answers, like x=1 and y=1, x=2 and y=2, etc. though i did find out one way to find out what we can do. there are two variables to if it exists, and if we do anything. if it does exist and we do something, it comes out neutral. if it does exist and we don't do anything, it comes negative. if it doesn't exist and we do something, it's negative. and finally if it doesn't exist and we don't do anything, it's a positive outcome. so the more likely thing to do is to actually do nothing.

Laurao said...

Mr. Fisch, I do believe in Math there is one answer and one answer only, there are many different ways to get to that answer but only one real answer. The right answer for global climate change is whatever scientists can find, maybe not even scientists, maybe the students of Arapahoe High School. Whatever is able to be tested, and is found to work will be the right answer. I also believe that 2+2 is 4 (A). I have been trained by all of my teachers that this is the right answer, I hope it is.

Laura

chelseac2012 said...

Karl Fisch - I agree and don’t with the fact that there is only one answer and one answer only in math. In many problems, there is only one answer (1+1) but problems that are more opinionated there are more than one answer. In answer to your first example, global climate change, people may have their own opinions and ideas about the subject. For the second example, there is only one answer: 2+2=4.

TristanL said...

Mr. Fisch:

I think there can be two answers in mathematics. It all depends on which symbol you use! My seventh grade math teacher once showed the class a weird equal sign (it was a = with a third line above it) that made 2+2= something else. I forgot what it was.

On the topic of global warming, I think it is a real problem. It's just a problem that a LOT of people ignore or don't believe in. It doesn't matter what science says. Although science can bring up a cyclic pattern graph that shows that we are just in a higher temperature era, the temperatures are still higher than they've ever been. Plus, the ozone layer is thinning in many areas. It's already only a centimeter wide, and over Australia, it is very thin, which is very BAD. That is why a lot of people get skin cancer in Australia. Also, this odd weather (snowstorms in the spring, hot sun in the late fall) is affected by the global warming problem. It doesn't help that many of the largest countries are spewing out toxic gases that harm the environment.
This may be a good argument, some may say, but there are other factors that can be mentioned that can disprove this. Just letting everyone know that I'm only giving one side of the story. Try to find a someone who will actually admit that! (Especially in politics!)

And to the last question... I have to say that 2+2 can equal 4.
That's all Smitty said to say, so that's all I'm saying. My argument in the first paragraph can disprove this... but... thanks for the three great questions!

PeterH2012 said...

Karl-
1. In most cases, there is only one right answer in math. It is one of the only subjects where there normally isn't any interpretation involved.
2. To be honest, I have no idea if global warming is real, or how to solve it. I haven't really heard anything except that all our grandkids are gonna die because of our mistakes. I haven't heard any proof, so i don't think i'm qualified to answer this question.
3. A

connorm said...

I think that when it is math problem that is just adding subtracting multiplication etc. just arithmetic then it is one right answer. There can be many ways of finding the answer to problems. For the global warming thing I think it is just a natural cycle and we should more or less prolong the cataclysmic event that could come with it but also we ‘ be able to stop it. A

AustinW2012 said...

Mr. Fisch- I believe that in math there are infinitly many solutions to any given problem. For example in non-euclidian math you can choose any two points in space and there are infinitly many lines trough space but in euclidian math there is one, so I guess what I'm trying to say it depends on how you approach the problem. Second, I look at global warming as a point on a graph. We have to get below that point to keep things going well but you can choose any graph you like to get there. The only thing is you must do it in x amount of time so that cuts off some areas of the graph but then again it may be possible to prolongue things like this and therefore that part of the graph can be added back in. The whole problem is basically each person insists their answer is right and only theirs is right but there are infinitly many right answers. Basically I believe that math is what you want it to be or you believe and understand. As for your last question my answer is E.

robertc2012 said...

I think everyone should explain their answers better than just saying two-plus-two is four. Explain why. Is it just because that's mathmatically correct?
How come I'm one of the only people that don't say the answer is just 4? (see my above comment)

johnc2012 said...

Karl- I have to say that in math, there can be many answers, but they are not all right. There can only be right answer. A number added to, subtracted from, divided by, or multiplied by another number will come up with the same answer every time. Numbers are a constant.

In response to question number one, I’m not sure that climate change can be described as one huge math problem. I takes a choice for people to “go green”, and to make better decisions to help the environment. Although there is a ton of math involved in climate change, it has no one right or wrong answer because it is not just a gigantic math problem

Finally, last time I checked, 2+2 is 4. You could get the other answers, but the only CORRECT answer will be 4.

Maxe2012 said...

With math there is always a right answer but it can't always be found. For example, pi has an answer but no one knows it. I don't think there is a completley right answer that can be found to global climate change. I don't think it cna be solved 100%. It is a really big and complicated problem. I am unsure of the answer.


A

mariep2012 said...

Mr. Fisch - When it comes to math, I think that there is one answer and one answer alone. There really is no other way to do it in math than one way. But I am referring to the basic math that we do everyday. As for 2+2, there is only one answer for this because there is a way to prove this answer. This is A, 4, because when there are 2 things or ideas and then 2 more things or ideas are added, then you 4. I am not trying to make this difficult or anything, just that this is true and there is nothing else to it. When we can't prove the answer, there is an endless possibility. As far as global warming, there are tons of theories and maybes that could be the answer. The real question is who is going to find out the right one.

From a different point of view, I wonder if we think that answer is 4 not only because we can prove this answer, but because that is what we have been told all our lives?

BernardoT2012 said...

Mr. Fisch- I disagree that math has one answer only. Like the square root of 4. Is it 2 or -2? If one is looking at a math problem, the answer depends on how one understands it.
For example, the Global Climate Change. Fact, the climate is changing. Fact, humans are causing most of the damage to the atmosphere. Fact, the atmosphere helps protect the planet from global warming. So, through logic, Humans are the greatest factor in Global warming. One answer would be to stop using fossil fuels. Fat chance. Another would be to discover how to make Ozone and put it in the atmosphere. Yet another answer would be to destroy the human race. Then there's not much more damage to the atmosphere and the planet can recover. Good thing the last one isn't the only answer.
The second example helps my argument, but I'm not allowed to explain yet. So here's my answer.

E.

ashleys2012 said...

Mr. Fisch-

I agree that in math there is "only one right answer" however I believe there is more than one right way to get to that one answer. The answer to Global Climate Change is there is no one pinpointed right answer. However there are plenty of right ways and ideas to guide you in the direction of the "right answer."

For your second question, what is 2+ 2, my answer is A) 4.

katieh2012 said...

Mr. Fisch-
In math, many believe that there is one right answer. This is because we were taught that there should only be one right answer. I guess it also depends on the type of problem you're dealing with. If you're problem is to draw a triangle, there are hundreds, maybe even tousands of right answers. Even in algerbra there can be multiple answers. Many times, I have worked a probem where there are multiple answers for "x". So if this is true, why are we told that there is only one right answer?

Global Climate Change is not necessarily a "problem" as much as it is a fact of life. Therefore it doen't necessarily have an answer. Global warming, however, a jacobs interpreted it, may becme a problem, but even then there are multiple solutions.

So in keeping with this theme, we have been taught that the answer to 2+2 is always 4. But what if we go against what we were taught? Whats the answer then?

leslieh2012 said...

Just in a proverbial sence, I don't think that global climate change in and of it's self is a problem. It is a fact and it is changing the world's environment. That causes problems, but climate change is not a problem it's self. I suppose you could say it is an equasion, and you have to plug in a particular issue for it to become a problem. There is no one way to fix any or all of the issues created, so there goes my math analogie. I believe math has only one answer. If you have 3 apples and you eat one, you will have two. That can not be disputed. Unless you count the apple in your stomach. Counting the apple in the stomach is what we need to do to find an answer to global climate change.

TristanL said...

Kyle- I think that is a very intelligent response. Great job!!

sammiet2012 said...

Karl- I would say that the general rule in math is that there is only one correct answer, but there can be more than one way to do the problem. For example if we do 3+3=? one person might think "Oh all I have to do is add 3 stars *** + 3 stars ***. That gives me 5 stars ******". Where as another person may say that it is just 2 times 3= 6.

AllisonM2012 said...

Mr. Fische
1. I agree that there is one answer and one answer only but there are myriads of ways to get to that answer. It is similar to how there are many problems in the world and there are many ways to solve those problems. So there may be one answer, but the solution has many, many possibilities.
2. Global climate change is a humongous math problem. Just like solving all math problems, there are many ways to solve this math problem. So, the correct answer to global warming is lowering the global temperature but for how mankind will go about doing this, there are infinite possibilities.
3. D

bayleyk2012 said...

Dear Mr.Fisch-

Math...I don't like math. There are several answers to a math problem. But only one right answer. Which is why I don't like math.

Global climate change is a very contreversial issue. Some people say that it is due to humans. Others will say that it's a natural occurance. But who is right? Our race hasn't been around long enough to know. So to this question I belive there is no right answer. It's a matter of opinion.

There is evidence to support both arguments. There may be only one answer but we haven't found it just yet.

The answer to number three is A

nickb2012 said...

Karl- Hour 2- I partly agree with carolineb2012 because the tests that you can take in math always have an answer key. But when you are, say, writing a paper, there are quite a few ways to get your opinion said. If you are answering a prompt, there are many different ways to answer it. For example, this response to your question can be answered in many ways, depending on how the responder interprets it.
In response to the global climate change, there is no way to know what the right answers are. Everyone that believes in global climate change thinks we need to start getting “greener”. This could possibly hurt the environment even more. But everyone who knows it’s there and doesn’t really do anything about it could be making it better by doing nothing. No one knows the right answer, and I don’t think anyone will ever know, because no matter what path we take, the consequences will be different.
2+2 = 4
However, that’s only in the binary, elementary school addition. In other terms, it could equal 10.

loganc2012 said...

Mr. Fisch:

In response to Caroline’s statement I believe that there is not always one right answer in math. For instance 1+1 may equal 2 however it also can equal 10. In the binary numerical system you add the 2 single digit numbers and it results in a 2 digit number so 1+1 equals 10.

Global Climate change is a math problem that has to do with reasoning. One person’s reasoning and thus one person’s answer may vary greatly. So in response to the question: The right answer to global climate change is a matter of opinion.

I say the answer is D.

Karl Fisch said...

Why do we learn mathematics? What's its purpose?

Karl Fisch said...

BTW, my answer to 2+2 is D, All of the above. Somebody want to take a shot at explaining that?

kailynw2012 said...

Does it have to do with the base of ten? Thus getting 4.

Does it deal with computer language and the set/ bases of 000100101 and different ones?
I don't really know how to explain it but I was wondering if it deals with that or, if I am way off.

katiez2012 said...

We learn mathematics because it is crucial to live everyday life. We use it all the time without even knowing it and there may definitly come times in life when we will need to use a skill that we have learned in math class. People rely on math for almost everything and although some people absolutely love math, many people take it for granted.

Megg2012 said...

I think we learn Math because it relates to everyday life. As Smith said in class, "I never knew the importance of geometry until I was building a house, with no idea how to figure out all the angles.." Or something like that. Although some math seems unimportant, it will come up in some way, shape, or form when you least expect it.
Also, can someone explain why 2+2 equals 10, 11 and 4? I don't get that at all.

justinp2012 said...

I believe the answer is D, all of the above. I think that since numbers are just representations of qauantity, there is no true value to these numbers. Therefore, 2 can equal 6, or 100 can equal 1. So it can equal 4, 10, 11, none of them, or even all of them.

jonathanp2012 said...

We learn mathematics to understand the "secrets" of objects and how o build replicas of those objects.

kaelib2012 said...

We learn mathematics to help us in everyday life. Even though it may not seem like it at the time, math will help us throughout our whole lives in all kinds of different things. It will help us when we are building houses, or grocery shopping and need to find out if we have enough money for what we want.

I have no idea why the answer would be D :)

katiez2012 said...

i have no idea how to explain how he can come up with the answer all of the above. I don't get that.

katiez2012 said...

i have no idea how to explain how he can come up with the answer all of the above. I don't get that.

bridgetL said...

We learn mathematics for many reasons. One is for all the real life use of it. Anything from finding the cheapest product at the grocery store to a real life job like architecture or engineering. Of course, we also learn math to help us understand a lot about how the world works. Math helps us understand small things like money and formula’s and why it is that you can share 10 pieces of candy evenly by 5 people using simple division. We also use math a lot without knowing what we are doing. So, in math class they not only teach us how to do things but what things are. If we know the property of addition, a teacher simply explains it so that we understand it well enough to apply it to further use. I do however, believe that a lot of the math we learn is simply to allow us to learn more math. While some of that math further along may come in handy, some of it certainly seems as though we simply learn to enable us to learn more. Some people may view that as a good thing, some may not.

jordang2012 said...

If the answer of D, all of the above, is correct, then why are we taught that 2+2=4? If 2+2=anything, then can 290-73=12,345? (I also want to say that I, too think that Al Gore is wrong.}

samis2012 said...

We learn mathematics because it is involved in every aspect of our lives. When you go to the grocery store and something is 45% off it's very good to know how to figure what you're supposed to be pay so that if the cashier or cash register gets it wrong you don't have to pay more or less than you were supposed to. Also, just yesterday, Ms. Smith was telling us how, when she was in geometry in 8th grade and thought it was completely useless. Then, years later, she was building a house and had to work with angles, and suddenly, it all clicked, this is why they learned everything they did in geometry. So we learn mathematics because we use it every single day whether we are aware of it or not.

annas2012 said...

We learn mathematics so we can apply it to every day life. Math helps us count, build houses, work, live, eat, etc. So if we didn’t have math life would be very difficult.
I have no idea how to explain the mathematical equation.

Zivenc2012 said...

Dear, Karl
We learn mathematics because everyone in the U.S. has a right to learn everything they need to succeed in life. Math is needed every day to do a variety of tasks that without math education would be impossible for most people. Can you imagine if no one was taught addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication?

TaylorG2012 said...

I don’t know really why we have to learn mathematics but I am thinking that it is because it is like one subject that is definitely used in our everyday life, like maybe not all parts of it like using quadratic formulas and stuff but basically we use it all the time so it is really important.

SydneyR2012 said...

Wow I knew that was coming. I just knew that we would all pick the logical, mathematically correct answer to 2+2, and then Mr. Fisch would come back and get us with some genius and possibly confusing explanation to why 2+2 was D. all of the above. I can’t wait to hear this. Quite frankly I have no idea why that would be the case, although I’m sure I am about to be turned completely upside down. I guess that I have had so many uncreative, monotonous teachers for so long that it is hard for me to think outside the box.

brookem2012 said...

I think that you came up with the answer of D All of the above for the same reason that I did. I think that it all depends on how you look at it. I say that a lot, that it’s all about how you look at the situation, but that’s because I really believe it. Also, it reminds me of yesterday when I was in my guitar lesson, my teacher, Tom, was talking about octaves. He told me about how one octave has eight notes in it. But then he asked me how many notes were in two octaves, so I said 16 (8+8). I was wrong. There are 15 notes in two octaves, because you don’t count on twice. But I don’t know, it just reminded me of this. It’s how you look at the question and decide what you think the answer should be.

kelseyc2012 said...

I don’t really understand why we learn math. It is helpful and necessary to a point but once we have passed the basics needed for doing taxes, bills, and other numerical annoyances it doesn’t seem useful. When will I ever use geometry except for rare occasions usually associated with certain professions. I have the exact same question as you, unfortunately though I feel that you were not asking out of curiosity.

bridgetL said...

Kailyn- I agree with Jacob, mostly. I do believe that global warming is happening. But, i believe that things like global warming are natural changes on the planet. When the ice age first began, did the cavemen cause it? No, it was a natural occurrence, and everything turned out fine. Earth is bound to change, sometimes more gradually and sometimes very drastically. But, I think there are lots of very strong arguments to prove that global warming is either natural or non-existent but that we only hear the facts that say humans are causing it. I think you should research some of the other sides of the argument a bit.

kinseym2012 said...

I'm not really sure why we have to learn math. I don't think we'd be learning it if it wasn't important though. I'm just not sure why we have to learn it.

Well if your going to be an engineer or architect then math is important but other wise I don't really see the point.

And how is the answer D? That just doesn't make to sense to me.

NickM2012 said...

We use mathematics to describe relationships between things. Equations and all that stuff is simply a way to explain a relationship between two (or more things). In geometry, we use numbers to describe objects and to measure a quantity. The purpose of all of this is to find a way to descrbe something in terms of numbers, instead of words.

bens2012 said...

I believe math is very vital to our future as adults, because things such as taxes, bills, expenses, etc. all need for someone to be good at math. Without math it would be close to impossible to deal with money is what i'm trying to say.
And Mr. Fisch I have no idea!

lsadler2012 said...

Mathematics isn't just a another period on our way to the end of the day in may opinion, but a necessary skill that is pertinent to every day life. You don't just memorize multiplication tables but the ideas that you learn and how you apply to them to your daily routines and problems that come up during our day. You learn how to think deductivly and logicaly and recognize patterns no matter how small they appear. In the great scheme of things, basically everything you learn ties back to each other same way, some how. Mathematics is just as crucial as learning to tie your shoes and crawl, and finally walk.

bradyp2012 said...

We learn mathematics because there are math in every day life. There are angles and three dimensional shapes in every day life and the use of observations of geometry every day. Math is always used to count money, keep track of time, and relates the number of things to do in a day. This may be simple math but if know learned this simple mathematics it would be impossible to function on a daily basis.

NickM2012 said...

Ok so... 2+2 equalling D, All of the Above???? well i see some way that this can be true, you just have to look at the question in a different way. For example, there were 4 possible answers, and 2+2=4 so you could say that. Also I think that possibly, it's because the numbers could stand for different things like 2 dozen plus 2 equals 26 so maybe it's something like that.

brianf2012 said...

We learn mathematics to understand real life situations. Math is very hard to understand if there is nothing to relate it to. Math helps a lot with building and construction. It is hard to understand why we are learning it because our normal everyday lives do not require much math

carolineb2012 said...

How would the answer to 2+2 be anything other than 4? If you have two marbles and someone gives you two more marbles how many marbles do you have now? Four. There are four marbles, unless one got eaten by your dog and then he barfed up six more? But that is not mention in the problem because then the problem would be 2+2-1+6 and it’s not. So Mr. Fisch, enlighten us, how is 2+2 anything but four?

carolineb2012 said...

Also, we use math for everything in life. We use it an essential part of life.

alisonr2012 said...

We learn math because we use it every day. We use math and we don’t even realize it. We use math when we build houses and buy things. If we measure something we are using math. If we didn’t learn math then we wouldn’t be able to pay for our lunches, or travel. Basically we wouldn’t be able to do anything and we wouldn’t have anything. Math is essential to learn.
I don’t understand how the answer is D.

kristenm2012 said...

In life we need math for many things, in class the other day Ms. Smith gave the example of angles in building a building. That may be just one example, but we people use math every day weather they like it or not.

Sylvia said...

Hi all = poking my head in from Los Angeles on your interesting discussion.

I would have to say that not only would the answer to the 2+2 = ? question be all of the above, but there are other answers that could be supported with solid arguments.

I'd toss in zero as a solution as well, and there are probably others.

loganc2012 said...

Mr. Fisch:

The answer is D because:
In a normal base-10 arithmetic 2+2=4 however in base-3 arithmetic 2+2 equals eleven because 2+1 equals 10 (in base-3 arithmetic 3 is not a digit only 0, 1, and 2 are) thus 2+1+1 (or 2+2) equals 11. In base-4 arithmetic 2+2=10 because 2+1= 3 (in a base-4 arithmetic only 0, 1, 2, and 3 are digits) so 2+1+1=10.

We learn mathematics for many reasons. Math teaches people general reasoning, logic, and general arithmetic. Reasoning is a skill that people use on a regular basis in their everyday lives. We use it to make decisions in life, business, education, love, and family. Math teaches us logic; it teaches us ways of proving our points of view with solid fact. It teaches us how to add and to subtract; it teaches how to spend our money wisely and thus prepare for the future.

Karl Fisch said...

@loganc2012 - Very nice explanation of those three correct answers to 2 + 2. I think I'll let Sylvia jump back in and explain how she thinks 0 is a good answer as well, then I'll come back with yet another answer. (Perhaps 3, do you think I can come up with a justification for 2+2=3?)

Oh, why do you think we use base 10?

Karl Fisch said...

@carolynb2012 - Almost forgot, you get extra credit for the barfing dog. (This is especially significant because I don't even believe in giving extra credit.)

Sylvia said...

OK - here's the answer for zero. But first, let me say that math is a way to explain the world in a way that can be shared with others.

In school, we use shortcuts so that we all are speaking the same language, but sometimes we forget to explain them, and then we forget they are just shortcuts. It's like the saying, "a fish can't explain water"

So take 2+2. What is 2? what is "plus"? In the real world, you have to at least ask, "two of what?" or the question is meaningless.

But on a basic math test, you just assume that the test is asking the simplest possible thing and mark "4".

So for my zero answer, think about the running track at your school. You run two laps, then you run two more. Where are you in relation to where you started?

robertc2012 said...

Responding to basically everyone, I think it's kind of silly to be posting over a hundred comments about whether or not 2+2 is four. Yes, the answer is four unless you want to come up with a creative way to reach something else.
You may call it a "creative learning discussion", but I really don't see it much more than a first grade math problem.
So, moving on, what's 3+3?

Karl Fisch said...

@robertc2012 – I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you didn’t read the two comments that immediately preceded yours. But, even so, I think your tone leaves something to be desired. Do you really think calling your classmates’ efforts "silly," and then following that with a sarcastic "moving on" comment, is helpful?

I realize that it’s a confusing time for high school students (well, really, all of us). We have political campaigns that seem to relish pouncing on every misspoken phrase or out-of-context sound bite. Campaigns that, when they do actually mention real issues, delight in taking the worst possible slant on an opponent’s stand instead of simply laying out the differences and making a case for their own stand.

We have talk radio, and cable "news" shows, that seem much more interested in ratings and winning an on-air, vitriol-filled argument, then they are in actually helping forge consensus and solving real problems that impact real people.

And, of course, we have television sitcoms and "reality" tv, where they can’t possibly let more than 22.8 seconds go by without a witty, sarcastic remark or a vicious attack on another character. Some reality.

So, call me naïve (and many people will), but I think we can do better. I think that, even when we disagree, we can have civil, enlightening, and, yes, even "creative learning" discussions. If that’s naïveté, then so be it.

Karl Fisch said...

Oh, almost forgot. For the 3+3 question - off the top of my head, I can come up with plausible arguments for 0, 5, 6, 10, 11 and 12.

Karl Fisch said...

2+2 = 3.

Wonder Woman Steel Corporation is headquartered in Fargo, North Dakota. They started out small, just supplying the North Dakota market, but during the roaring 90’s they expanded throughout the continental United States. Because of the way they grew historically, WWSC was divided into two divisions, the North Dakota division and the Rest of the U.S. division. Because of a particularly rancorous snowball fight one year between the two divisions, management of each division didn’t get along real well, and communication and cooperation suffered.

The divisions produced roughly the same amount of steel each week (North Dakota still being the heart of their sales territory), and each week each division purchased two large orders of widgets from the Magic Lasso widget company. Unfortunately, the delivery truck service that Magic Lasso used could only fit about one and a half of those orders on them, so each week each division had to have two trucks arrive – and pay the costs of two trucks - to deliver the widgets. Because of the animosity of the two divisions, each week two trucks would roll up to the North Dakota division, and two separate trucks would roll up to the U.S. division.

Then, just after the turn of the century, our hero arrived. Smitty started in the mail room at WWSC, but in 2002 was promoted to the procurement department of the North Dakota division. One balmy January day while taking her lunch break outside and surfing Amazon.com, Smitty looked up and noticed four trucks entering the grounds, but then splitting in two and delivering to their separate divisions. The light bulb went on and Smitty immediately went directly to the President of the company and told her how she could not only save the company money each week, but could also help address emissions and help with North Dakota’s efforts to address global climate change.

"Ms. Carter," exclaimed Smitty. "If we simply combined our widget orders from the two divisions into one order, we would only need three trucks instead of four. We would slash our delivery costs by 25% and have additional carbon offsets to sell to those jokers in Colorado." Carter jumped up, clapped Smitty on the back and said, "Smitty, you’re a genius. You just saved us a ton of money and I’m immediately promoting you to VP in charge of both divisions. How did you ever think of this?"

Smitty thought for a moment, then smiled. "Well," she said, "When I was in school we learned to think for ourselves, and to not assume that 2 + 2 always equaled 4."

Kathryn J said...

What a great discussion and interesting use of a blog to promote classroom discourse!

Now I just have to figure out how to use music to teach chemistry. I could come up with several ways to incorporate art - drawing, sculpture, and the interesting color changes. Music seems like more of a challenge, easy for physics but not so obvious for chemistry - any ideas?

AustinW2012 said...

First, I believe we learn mathematics as a way to explain things better and understand things rather than have our heads explode because we need to have a reason for everything. Therefore, I think your answer of D is because there are different explanations for things and each is a different version of explanation and understanding.

leslieh2012 said...

2+2 does not equal 3.
1.5(widgets) +1.5= 3

the problem has nothing to do with 2 and 2. ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

robertc2012 said...

Mr. Fisch- I'm sorry about my previous comment's tone, but I still believe that 2+2 is 4. Your story was very creative, but what are you adding together? Trucks? Well then you can't say two and two enter the pickup area and only three come out. That's 2+2 -1. Anyway, there are still four trucks. The last one doesn't vaporize, it just isn't carrying any widgets. Your story does not supply enough information.
I do really believe that two plus two is four and that's the only mathmatically correct answer. If you can complete a mathmatic equation instead of a story to prove otherwise, then I will be convinced.

jays2012 said...

Mr Fisch
Math is the basic answer to everything, we use it everyday. without math our world in in chaos. We learn mathmatics for many reasons. Its purpose is to make our lives easier. Ut is the basic building block.
I don't see how 2+2= anything but 4. if you have two of something and you can two more of something, you get 4. I have no idea how you can get any different answer.

ericak2012 said...

Mister Karl- Although your story brings up an excellent point by combining the two bulks into 3 trucks, that is not purely addition. You have to divide the one part too. By adding 2 and 2 and having it equal 3, you had to divide a part too. I hope that makes sense...

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