Monday, October 02, 2006

Tapping fools

Kyle came home with some interesting stuff from school today. One of the math problems they had involved tapping their finger on the desk. They timed themselves for 10 seconds. Then they had to figure out, at that pace, how long it would take them to tap 1,000,000 times. That was fairly simple. Kyle tapped 37 times in 10 seconds.

One million taps @ 3.7 taps/second will take 3 days, 3 hours, 4 minutes, 30.27 seconds.

The teacher has a thing he does to get the kids to work. One thing he does is offer them a problem, that, if they answer, will exclude them from homework for that day. That is pretty cool. It is, until you give them a problem that is well beyond their abilities. Make it possible. Make it reasonable.

This teacher told them to figure how long it would take to tap one billion times. OK, that isn't so hard.
1,000,000,000 taps @ 3.7 taps/second will take 8 years, 208 days, 3 hours, 4 minutes, 30.27 seconds.

Then he added that they had to figure out how long it would take to tap one trillion times. That is a little more than the average , or even above average 5th grader can figure. So, with a few taps on my calculator, I figured 1,000,000,000,000 taps @ 3.7 taps/second would take 8570 years, 78 days, 3 hours, 4 minutes, 30.27 seconds.

I don't usually give the kids answers to homework. It defeats the purpose. I know how to do the math. I know how to figure it out. They need to know. Kyle understands the concept of doing the division and multiplication to figure out the problem, but that is a bit much to keep straight. I figure at least half of my sophs, juniors, and seniors cant do it.

8570 years ... Those are some tapping fools.

2 comments:

Retro Girl said...

Tapping fools...with sore fingers!! lol.

I used to hate those worded problems in math...but in college I started to enjoy some of them...It's fun when you start to understand it and find it challenging. But the ones that make you beat your head on the desk...well they're just a pain LOL

Seriously---I think the teacher's method is good...Make learning fun and make them want to rise to the challenge - for a reward that actually interests them!

Ron said...

I agree, Red .. and do the same thing .. but I try to keep it something attainable .. Kyle is one of the brightest kids I know .. and he was lost