Saturday, March 03, 2012

Stupid Teacher Fired For Assigning Stupid Math Problems

A third grade teacher downloaded problems like these off a homeschooling web site and assigned them to his students:
"I was sleeping one night when a hungry vampire sucked 3652 liters of blood from me and 1865 liters of blood from my little brother. How much blood did the hungry vampire drink that night?"

"I took a nap in a bog one day and woke up screaming. 3796 leeches, 2910 fleas and 1044 vampire bats were stuck to my bald head drinking my blood in ecstasy. How many bloodthirsty bloodsuckers were dining on my head?"

"John's father gave him 1359 marbles on his birthday. John swallowed 585 marbles and died. 9 of John's friends came for his funeral the next day. John's grieving father gave the remaining marbles to John's friends in equal numbers. How many marbles did each friend get?"
The linked article refers to "racially problematic" language on the web site, yet the only mention of such language is a reference to "Singapore Math"--a proper noun, as it's a math program modeled on how math is taught in Singapore. If that's the only "racially problematic" language ("racist" is also mentioned), then the article's author and those who complained about these math problems are idiots. The problems are inappropriate enough without tossing in a trumped-up charge of racism to seal the deal.


Jean said...

The math problem sound like they were written by some 14-year-olds trying to entertain each other.

I don't get what is offensive about Singapore Math either.

EK said...

Perhaps it is the reference to the "hungry vampire" in the first word problem that is "racially problematic." I think the accepted term is "undead-American."

Anonymous said...

This is a perfect example of why schools need mentors and master teachers. The problems were yucky, but then so IMHO are Tim Burton's movies. I took my 3 yr old grandchild to the movies last night to see "The Lorax" and had to turn her around away from the screen when the G rated preview for Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie" came on. Anyway, I digress. Having a mentor or master teacher to check in with before assigning such problems might have saved the guy his job. Are teachers one of the few professions now where a lapse in judgement costs someone their job? How many 3rd graders are attempting to read the "Twilight" series or some similar grade level book? Have you been to a child's bookstore lately. The series books are violent and the kids love them. Welcome to the 21st century Brothers Grimm. I just finished "The Hunger Games". It is by Scholastic (for young teens) and I know when I was in 3rd grade it would have been right at my reading level. A mentor might have been able to say... ummm, no, don't use those problems.

Hube said...

Maybe it's the same fool who used selling slaves in working out math problems? I read an article about some math teacher who did just that. Sheesh.

Dishwasher Philosopher said...

To be perfectly honest, as a parent of a third grader most of the questions don't really bother me (besides issues with the vampire blood one and the fact that the human body doesn't have that much in it), I remember my friends and I having rather dark senses of humor at that age and think that we would have probably gotten a kick out of math questions like that.

I can see taking some exception to explicitly stating someone dies in a problem or even smoking in this day and age but I can't find any trace of where racism would come in from the examples that were given in the article.