Life without math

If a car is going 80 miles per hour, how long will it take to drive 80 miles? It’s not obvious to the woman in the video, even after her husband — possibly now her ex-husband — asks her to think about “miles per hour.”

This is Why Tracking Needs To Be Brought Back to Math Classes, writes Lynne Diligent, who overcame math anxiety as an adult. Some students need concrete explanations of things that are obvious to others.  Diligent also writes about how teaching math is like teaching drawing skills. Students need to learn how to see in a new way.

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  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    Joke, right? Anyway, what kind of scum would put that, fake or not, on the web and humiliate his SO?
    However, it does indicate that, though I hated story problems, they were useful in learning to apply–set up–math issues in the real world.

    • SuperSub says:

      I think it has less to do with the husband being “scum” than being as clueless as his wife…its the Jackass era, where people will gladly make fools of themselves and their loved ones because they think it is an entirely appropriate way to gain attention and fame.

      • Calling the guy ‘scum’ is way over the top. Did he make a bad decision? Yes. Did he probably end up sleeping on the couch for a few weeks? Yes. But they’re still married. And they even went on the ‘Today’ show a couple of weeks ago and told their story. The guy thought it was funny, but didn’t expect it to become as huge as it was once it hit the Internet (a classic mistake in the Internet age). He said he thought it was good for a laugh at the time – like those videos of people who are woozy after having their wisdom teeth taken out…

        • J. D. Salinger says:

          Right. You’re always right aren’t you ,Darkseid? Idiot.

          • I don’t know if he’s right or wrong, but why do you think his response makes him an idiot? I’d say anything’s possible in a relationship between two people…

    • I agree with you, while the video was interesting, I found it shocking that a husband would put that video up at his wife and publicly laugh at her.

  2. I do not think it is obvious that this video suggests that tracking be brought back to classes. What is obvious to me is that this woman has memorized the phrase “miles per hour” and has never been given experiences (direct instruction or otherwise) to counteract her misconception (or complete lack of comprehension) of what the phrase means.

    Richard Feymann described an entire science education system in Brazil where students dutifully learned what scientific words meant, and how those words were related to each other, but never actually learned what any of those words meant. His judgement at the time was that this was because they had never had any experiences with those phenomena, so the words were proxies for ideas that they did not understand. From this, I can deduce that when someone doesn’t understand a somewhat basic concept that it obviously goes back to their schooling, and to the type of experiences they had in school. I think I could just as easily argue that this woman needed more concrete experiences with “miles per hour” and explanations from peers (unlike her husband who seems to delight in her ignorance) who have just learned the concept and are therefore more readily able to come up with an explanation that will satisfy a novice.

    • Sean Mays says:

      Come now, in the video, the woman tries to relate it to her running skills and exercising. How much more “concrete” can you get than that? IF she’s anything like the runners and bikers I know, it’s a social thing as well, so she’s got a support group or people who could make it relevant to her.. Of course, if one’s peers are as clueless as oneself, they’ll have to search higher up the food chain for enlightenment.

      How could we ever expect people to make the transition to abstract units. Amps and light years and megatons? We’re not talking about doping out the Rydberg constant here, this is as concrete as pi.

      She may well have HAD the correct experiences in school, but they either didn’t stick, were ignored or she blew them off.

    • Cranberry says:

      She’s had lots of concrete experiences of “miles per hour.”

      No one may have thought to walk her through the thought process of “If I bike at ten miles an hour, that means every hour I cover ten miles.” That would be direct instruction, though, wouldn’t it?

      After a certain age, peers are likely to keep a tactful silence when one displays utter ignorance. That is, if they like you. Relying on “peer explanations” for education is foolish.

      • Sean Mays says:

        I wonder how this woman manages her day …

        Woman: “Honey!! I’m going out to run 10 six minute miles. Wish me luck.”
        Husband: “Great! See you in about an hour!”
        Woman: “What does that have to do with it?”

        I must have bad peers; or at least untactful ones; and for that, I’m thankful.

        • Cranberry says:

          On further reflection, this isn’t an experience issue.

          It’s a vocabulary issue. She doesn’t know the definition of “per.”

          I’m not certain how she passed her math classes. Could tactics such as halving numbers when in doubt have thrown up enough of an impression of “effort” on written work and homework to give her passing grades? Notice that she also tries to draw parallels to her personal experience–not that it helps her much.

          • Sean Mays says:

            We need more data on her concept of “per”. We need to take her to a restaurant and see if she can calculate a tip. Discuss investments and see if she can understand interest and returns as a percent and a per annum. Discuss her budget for insight to what her family spends per month. She probably knows what she’s paid, per week or per year and could explain that to you.

            PERhaps she’s just joshing us along to get some publicity!

  3. The downside: His wife has NO Math skills whatsoever. The upside: His wife is gorgeous! It does make you wonder what they do in K-12 Math these days, though…

    • I do see your point what math skills adults these days have, but that doesn’t redeem the guy for humiliating his wife in front of the whole world (which is what it counts as when it hits the Internet – millions of people can see the picture/video/text in just seconds!) I’d be willing to bet good money that he’s single again by now…

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    He’s scum. That is simply not done, not even to your worst enemy, without a signed release. Even then, what’s the point besides humiliating somebody?

  5. It’s fake, they were on Tosh.O on comedy central laughing about it.

    • I just can’t buy that… I think the video was real. Calling it fake is their ‘out’… “My wife’s not innumerate! We were ‘faking’ it…”