This Week’s Installment
What mathematical skill is the textbook trying to teach with this image?
(If you’re reading via email or RSS, you’ll need to click through to vote. Also, you’ll need to check that link tomorrow for the answer.)
I’m kicking the number of options back up to three. Two options simply doesn’t give y’all the challenge I know you need.
Team Me: 4
Team Commenters: 3
I don’t know if this is pseudocontext, but I for sure don’t know under what circumstances anyone would wonder about resultant momentum. In my head right now it’s like wondering about the middle names of the people who manufactured that car. It feels like trivia! I’m not saying it is trivia, but I am wondering if someone can put me in a position where knowing how to calculate resultant momentum would feel like power rather than punishment.
Every Saturday, I post an image from a math textbook. It’s an image that implicitly or explicitly claims that “this is how we use math in the world!”
I post the image without its mathematical connection and offer three possibilities for that connection. One of them is the textbook’s. Two of them are decoys. You guess which connection is real.
After 24 hours, I update the post with the answer. If a plurality of the commenters picks the textbook’s connection, one point goes to Team Commenters. If a plurality picks one of my decoys, one point goes to Team Me. If you submit a mathematical question in the comments about the image that isn’t pseudocontext, collect a personal point.
(See the rationale for this exercise.)
The commenters took this one right on the nose. The pseudocontext was in the last place they looked.
The judges rule that this violates the first rule of pseudocontext:
Given a context, the assigned question isn’t a question most human beings would ask about it.
Moreover, I just don’t see any congruent triangles in the picture. None. I know I’ll see some if you widen the camera’s angle, but there aren’t any in the frame right now, which makes this a uniquely poor context.
The only way I can think to neutralize this pseudocontext:
Show students four spaghetti bridges. They have to decide which ones are fragile and which ones are strong. Understanding congruency somehow (waves hands) makes them more accurate in their decision-making.
I like physics. And math. One without the other is school.