a/k/a A Rubric For Applied Math Curriculum
- The problem claims to represent the real-world but its illustration is only clip-art or a line drawing.
- The problem specifies the exact method of its own solution, usually in a series of substeps labeled “a, b, c, d.”
- The problem only gives information that the student will use in the solution.
The same as worst except:
- The real-world problem presents itself as it exists in the real world.
The same as bad except:
- The problem reveals no information about itself — no measurements, especially — forcing the student to decide for herself what information is relevant to the solution.
- The problem doesn’t hint at its own solution method with substeps. The student can develop that solution socially, in conversation with her teacher or her classmates.
The same as good except:
- The problem hangs itself on a single, concise, intuitive question, one that any student can answer, regardless of mathematical ability. The teacher solicits guesses and records them publicly, investing the students in the outcome of the exercise, and refers back to them later, perhaps introducing the concept of percent error.
- The solution to the problem isn’t read from an answer key. Instead, it’s observed by the class together in a second multimedia artifact. The class compares the answer derived from their theoretical model to this practical answer. This is scary. The class will almost certainly be wrong but the conversation about sources of error should be embraced, not feared.
The question: how long will it take to fill up the tank?