Practical uses for Math and Science

I don’t know about you, but when I was in school (pretty much all grades) I was one of those people always asking the defensive question “name one thing I will ever use math/science for in my life.”

Well there’s a great video out there that shows how math and science CAN be used in everyday life, and it has nothing to do with a job or career.

These engineering students constructed a 60 foot water slide jump, launching them 16 feet to a catch pool at the end. They used weight, distance, momentum, and other such equations to help build the slide so that it would work to perfection.

In my opinion, a very cool (albeit somewhat dangerous) example of a fun way to use math and science. click to see the video

paid to study

I don’t even know where to begin, but I’ll start by recapping. In case you haven’t heard this or read it yet, two Georgia schools are testing out a privately-funded program in which they are offering to pay under-performing students to attend study hall. Seriously! The thinking, supposedly, is that parents of means have been paying their kids for good grades for a long time, but poor parents simply have to tell their kids to study and learn for the sake of learning.

Again, my thoughts are all over the place on this one. And every way I look at it, it’s a bad idea. It sends the wrong message. It continues a trend of making kids think they are “entitled” somehow. So say this works for a few kids and they improve their grades (which I agree is a good end result), and they go on to attend Jr. College or a 4-yr university. What then? Do we assume they will just automatically start studying for its own benefit, or will they be looking for the next hand out?

The program is intended to encourage some underprivelaged kids to study versus taking a part-time job for extra money. Hey here’s an idea, study AND work if you need the money. Though I never did personally, I knew lots of people in high school and college who worked part-time jobs and had to study too. In fact in college I knew many kids who HAD to work several jobs just to pay for school, and then had to find time to study so they didn’t fail out.

Somehow, some way, this seems to link back to the whole “No Child Left Behind” fiasco. Paying kids to motivate them to learn so that the school will ultimately benefit with more funding, and teachers will benefit with raises (things they should be getting anyway!).

And in my opinion, as always, is that ultimately it should be the PARENTS responsibility to motivate their kids to study and learn. The PARENTS should be enforcing study time and the value of good grades, whether money is involved or not. Period. If PARENTS can’t afford to give their kids money for grades, then it’s up to THEM to figure out different ways to motivate their kids. That’s what PARENTS are supposed to do.

Of course that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

<click here> for the full article.

Keeping up with the Jones’ kids

The latest and greatest toys and learning tools continue to amaze. Check out this article Tagfrom yesterday’s NYT.com technology section about a new learning Toy from Leapfrog. The Tag, officially called the Tag Reading System, works a lot like the LeapPad. Among other things, children can tap a word with it and the stylus reads the word, or its definition, aloud. They can tap on an image to hear a character’s voice come alive. How cool is that?
<Click here> to read the full article.