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Crunchatize me Capn'
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Why is it that you can have a professor go through a problem on the board and you sit there understanding every single bit of it. Ya' think to yourself..."yes, that makes sense. Easy no problem". Then when you get to your homework and start the problems you turn into "What I don't get this! How the h*** did this make sense before?" I tell ya'. Change two words in the problem and it throws everthing for a loop. :madman:
 

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Because you don't understand the concepts. This isn't a slight to you but to your professor. I've seen way too many people teach towards problems, how to calculate this or that, but not WHY you do this or that.
 

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Take physics and riding will be sooo much more fun!! you can find out how hot ur rotors will get and how much stress is on your frame of that ten foot drop. Lots of cool stuff involved in physics. I dont regret my undergrad in mechanical engineering (or my cpa for that matter)
 

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Crunchatize me Capn'
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
psunuc said:
The only way to get better is to just struggle through some problems until you start to understand WHY you should solve a problem a certain way.
This is what kills me at higher level mathmatics and physics. Once you get so high you start to delve into theoreticals only. There really isn't a WHY yet. For example, take magnetism. You can only really measure it's effect on particles you can't really measure it because we don't yet know why magnetism exists, only that it does. Like gravity too.
Ugggtthhh....anyway. Rant over. Now back to studying....yeeeaaaahhhhh:skep:
 

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ravingbikefiend
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I hated math when I was in school...this was back in the days when we had to walk uphill (both ways).

NOw I couldn;t live without those math skills that were forced upon me as withot them I would not be able to do my job (machinist) or work out things like how many gear inches I'll be running on my new road bike when I install the new crankset.

131 gear inches should make for some astounding downhill speed don'tyathink ?
 

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I wear two thongs
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I enjoy math/physics I like knowing how everything works. Plus without a system of mathematics most things we take for granted would be non-existent.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Minjin said:
Because you don't understand the concepts. This isn't a slight to you but to your professor. I've seen way too many people teach towards problems, how to calculate this or that, but not WHY you do this or that.
Yes, and it's poor planning/presentation by the professor when instances and problems pop up that have variables (not in the strict sense) that were not in the examples or taught. Some books are decent at explaining problems, and some are absolute crap. Teachers are the same way, and probably the number one problem that we (both) have is we assume that people know things or that they know to do a certain thing. It's so easy to fall into the trap of, "well I know this subject, and it's easy, and I should only have to explain this, and the students should understand it". Or, "why doesn't this person understand this? It's so simple to me (because I've been doing it all my life)".

The amount of knowledge, repetition, guidance, and understanding that it takes to be able to correlate knowledge/learning (being able to correlate is the highest level of learning) is very immense, and I think that many teachers vastly underestimate this.

I don't assign much homework in my educational job (due to what I teach), but if I'm having a very good day and I'm on top of my game, I can lead a student to correlate subjects through carefully worded questions and guidance. Sometimes though, it will not work, and no amount of effort on my part will instantly bring the intended results. Now, send a student home with homework and have them do this (try to correlate) on their own. It's often a lot to ask. "Understanding" is a level that is below correlation, and as the original poster said, it's often not difficult to understand what is going on in a specific example that is given when it's described. Correlation involves applying the same concept to problems outside of what was originally learned. With superior knowledge, experience (application) and practice, it's all too easy to forget what it's like to learn something, and to apply it to (at least seemingly) different situations.
 

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I've always been ticked how the examples never cover EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE SITUATION!

But at the same time, I can understand. You're supposed to "figure it out yourself".

Screw that. If you know how, TELL ME.

So, is a teacher better or worse if he/she shows tons of examples? It's good so you'll learn better (maybe), but worse because everything is spoonfed to you.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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MrKalentine said:
I've always been ticked how the examples never cover EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE SITUATION!

But at the same time, I can understand. You're supposed to "figure it out yourself".

Screw that. If you know how, TELL ME.

So, is a teacher better or worse if he/she shows tons of examples? It's good so you'll learn better (maybe), but worse because everything is spoonfed to you.
It's a catch 22. My student is achieving the highest level of learning if he can apply something he has learned OUTSIDE the original scope, but the problem is that without much experience, guidance, and practice, that is very difficult. It's something that usually happens after a longer period of time, not a few hours later after only having worked a few problems in class.

The more examples they show you and teach you, the better your knowledge will be, the more practice you'll have, and you'll simply have a better basis when you encounter something that you couldn't plan for. That's idealistic though, limitations of time and energy make it impossible to really do this all of the time. There unfortunatly has to be a tradeoff or balance with it all.
 

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My dad who seems to know everything about math always tells me if you just do tons and tons of practice you'll be good at it (he's Asian).

He says:

"How do you know that 1+1=2? It's instant. Now, if you get enough practice with __________________, it'll be instant as well".

Which, of course, is true. But you need way more practice to know things instantly w/ higher levels math than just 1+1.
 

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Math doesn't suck. It's the universal language. Math is concrete, their is no subjectiveness like liberal arts and I'm not bad mouthing liberal studies, both are important.
 

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Crunchatize me Capn'
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
fanghasyou said:
Math doesn't suck. It's the universal language. Math is concrete, their is no subjectiveness like liberal arts and I'm not bad mouthing liberal studies, both are important.
What! You mean math is really concrete? Guess it's time to change my major to construction management. :thumbsup:

As "concrete" as mathematics is it stops being concrete when it moves strictly into the realm of concept. Or rather it will some day BE concrete but it's not yet. These are the problems I have trouble with. Taking the magnetism example from my previous post one can mathematically describe how it works on a particle but we can't yet describe why. We only know it does through observation. My problem is that I'm fine with the concrete ie the 1+1=2 post because you can connect that something to an actual, well something. But the problem arises when you have too many situations that may mess up known calculations simply because we don't have the ability to test out those circumstances on what we know. Magnetism make work one way, the way we've observed uptil now, but "what about x situation and y situation" and "totally out there situation" and "maybe things are only working the way we've observed so far but they wouldn't if we changed whatever" situation.

This is why I have a hard time grasping these problems. I'm not one who can just "do a problem" the way it's done in a book just because it says so. I naturally question everything and then I fall into the trap of thinking way, way too much and by then, well....tutoring time. I think that in the classroom, since I've just been exposed to the knowledge, that I haven't had enough time to digest it yet and when I do I start with the, OK but why is vector x going in this direction? Why not this way or some such? Well it's these questions that can't be answered yet but drive me nuts anyway. Most of the concrete mathmatics I get very, very quickly just fine.

Now here's a real kicker. Is it really a "break from homework" if I come back to a post about the very subject I was working on? :thumbsup:
 

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MTB Rider
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hahh !!!

Minjin said:
Because you don't understand the concepts. This isn't a slight to you but to your professor. I've seen way too many people teach towards problems, how to calculate this or that, but not WHY you do this or that.
Yeah, and when you try to teach a kid the "why" they balk and insist they simply wish to know how to finish their homework. The answer for the original poster is to do more math problems.

BTW, what is the problem, someone here may be able to shed some light upon it ;-) ???

jabpn said:
s "concrete" as mathematics is it stops being concrete when it moves strictly into the realm of concept. Or rather it will some day BE concrete but it's not yet. These are the problems I have trouble with. Taking the magnetism example from my previous post one can mathematically describe how it works on a particle but we can't yet describe why. We only know it does through observation. My problem is that I'm fine with the concrete ie the 1+1=2 post because you can connect that something to an actual, well something. But the problem arises when you have too many situations that may mess up known calculations simply because we don't have the ability to test out those circumstances on what we know. Magnetism make work one way, the way we've observed uptil now, but "what about x situation and y situation" and "totally out there situation" and "maybe things are only working the way we've observed so far but they wouldn't if we changed whatever" situation.
If you do not understand something, this does not mean that it is not concrete. I think what you're after is that you want to study an application for mathematics in order to understand them. This is a perfectly reasonable desire and I have to tell you that mathmeticians consider this COMPLETELY unnecessary. Mathematics is reason ... pure and simple. It's unfortunate that advanced topics actually do require work in order to understand. But that's the way it is.

Now there are LOTS of applications of mathematics that you and I probably would not understand at first glance. This does NOT mean they are not concrete. It simply means we need to study more to understand them. We may also need to trust experts in their fields. I wish I could understand everything. I have a hard enough time with the upper level math courses I'm taking right now. But after interacting with my professors, I know that they really know what they are doing and that I trust what they have to say in their area of expertise.
 

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if you're in college and your professor is tenured, guess what...

you're screwed.

get to know your TAs well. the professor will have no idea who you are, and likely won't care.

math becomes easier once you can visualize what's going on. well, it did for me, at least.
 

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life is a barrel o'fun
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It kills me that I have zero math ability. None. I feel like a walking stereotype. Saw a show about quantum physics vs string theory a few months ago, and it actually made some sense. Guess the visualization (cool graphics) doesn't hurt.
 

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My favorite tests are ones where you're given a problem that explains a new concept and you had to solve the problem using the whole section and the new concept. Really gets the brain going!

A great tutor could help a lot with this. Math builds from on e concept to the next. If you are not solid on old concepts used in the new problem, it gets confusing because you're trying to apply too many concepts at once. The tutor can identify the concepts you don't understand, teach them to you and then move onto the new concepts for the problem at hand. (my mom is a math teacher specializing in remediation.)
 

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This may or may not help as a learning strategy, but as you're solving the problem(s) in class try to picture yourself having to teach it to someone else later on. It's a rough gauge of your knowledge of the concept/unit but it can help.
 

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is this thread about how math sucks or how you don't understand it or about how bad your teacher is? I'm confused.

Math does NOT suck. Its very important. I think alot of people hate it because its a very left brained/right brained thing. Some people it just makes sense to, some people it doesn't and frustrates them. To make the problem worse, most of the people that REALLY understand math are usually not good at explaining it to others, and especially not at explaining it to the right brained people because their brains don't work the same way.

/Coming from a math major
 
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