|Box by my student Richard Bell as featured in Lee Valley Newsletter|
As I was on my evening walk last night, I thought about the odious word problems presented in math. There was one from the first SAT administered in 1926 in the margins of the Botstein's essay. It goes like this: "If a package containing twenty cigarettes costs fifteen cents, how many cigarettes can be bought for 90 cents?" It doesn't say how many multiple choices were offered or what they were, but the word problems offered in math are simply an attempt to show math used in contrived context in artificialized learning. The problem of word problems is obvious to anyone who has done math to solve real world problems as offered in wood shop.
Botstein asks that new tests be developed to replace the SAT. He says, "The truth is that the only legitimate test is one in which a question is put forward and an answer is required with no options or hints." I suggest that the only legitimate test is one in which the answer applies directly to real life, and its correctness is measured in the success of doing real things, not by the College Board. The questions to which there are right and wrong answers are the ones that are wrong to be asking kids if we are concerned about developing a lifelong love of learning.
Today I am signing a contract for another book, will travel to buy walnut for box making and will prepare for a weekend class. The tool box shown in the photo above was made by one of my students at Marc Adams School of Woodworking. I remember when he worked on it is class and I suggested he send it to the Lee Valley Newsletter. It was published in this week's edition.
Make, fix and create...