Scientific Notation

SCIENTIFIC NOTATION….Today the Washington Post takes a look at looming teacher shortages caused by a wave of retirements among baby boomers combined with NCLB’s requirements that all teachers have degrees and be credentialed. And I supposed I’d comment on that if I had anything intelligent to say on the subject. But I don’t, so instead I’m just going to highlight this sentence that comes about halfway into the story:

Math teachers now face more pressure to engage students, to get them to really understand and enjoy scientific notation and exponents — something [Debbie] Valcour worked hard to do on a recent warm afternoon in a room full of 24 chatty sixth-graders.

Damn. They have to enjoy scientific notation? That’s rough.

And while I’m at it: Scientific notation? In sixth grade? I don’t remember exactly when I was taught scientific notation, but it was nowhere near sixth grade, that’s for sure.

On the other hand, thanks to the New Math, I learned the basics of set theory in fourth grade. I could have corrected Mitt Romney’s “null set” nonsense when I was ten. So I probably have the little beggars beat on that.