Reading Dan Meyer’s blog today I came across a discussion on ‘pseudocontext’. Those pointless, make believe, so called contextual maths questions that I have railed against for years. They are neither useful nor inteteresting and go a long way to removing both the beauty and utility of mathematics.
Very glad to read:
“The real test of whether a math problem is “relevant” is not “do you use this in ‘real life’,” whatever that means, but “do you want to solve it?” It’s not that you want to solve it because it’s relevant; wanting to solve it is what it means to be relevant.”
“Something I’m realizing in all of this is that it doesn’t matter how I reply when a student asks “when will I ever use this in real life?” I’ve already lost. Because that student isn’t asking a question about an uncertain future; she’s lodging a complaint about a frustrating present.”
Now go read the rest….