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Research Not Meant to be Humorous

Somethings that are true but humorous, often hurt! I have removed the actual name of the school involved to save possible embarrassment.

In the spring of 2000 (only 14 years ago), H****e High School successfully obtained grant funds of $2060 from the U.S. Department of Justice.

From the project description: "$2,060 for 200 algebra, trigonometry, and calculus students to increase their ability to perform mathematical calculations without the use of a calculator by learning to use a slide-rule, a device consisting of two logarithmically scaled rules mounted to slide along each other so that multiplication, division and more complex calculations may be reduced to the mechanical equivalent of addition and subtraction. The project will lead to increased understanding of mathematical calculations and algorithms by insuring that students learn the concepts and processes behind the calculations that are often lost when using a calculator."

Now, some personal comments:

  • Being of the slide-rule generation in my own schooling, I actually believe we have lost some things when slide rules faded away from use (though I still have mine). One example is better understanding of calculations viz. number size and approximations.
  • I am glad calculators are now available, because their power (and visual graphics) enhances one's ability to learn and explore mathematics...hands down!
  • I have been unable to ever find any research that showed that students "learn the concepts and processes behind the calculations"...with either slide rules or calculators. They are tools, nothing more...tools that do and reinforce, not inculcate.
  • Though I have searched, I have been unable to find a final report for this project, to see if student abilities were increased and how such was measured.