Friday, March 2, 2012

Things I thought I could always count on

Today's students struggle with math and science. What has happened to cause this downfall? They rely on calculators for simple math problems and they can not count your change back without a cash register doing the calculation.
Gone are the days of route memorization of the times tables and doing math problems without using calculators. Long division, order of operations... you may as well be speaking Greek.
The World Championship Slide Rule Competition is held in March, Last year it was Held in Irving, TX and was won by Bennie Tschoerner, who was also 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 champion.
The competition consisted of a set of problems that needed to be solved within a given time limit. The winner who gets the highest number correct wins.
First place was won by Bennie Tschoerner using a K+E 4181-3 and in  2nd Place was Brad Bradfield. There were only 2 entrants in the competition.

Movie buffs will tell you that the scene is all wrong, but one of my favorite scenes is in the movie  Apollo 13 when Jim Lovell is calculating the gimbal angles with a pencil and notebook and asked mission control to check his calculations. All the engineers back at NASA instantly whipped out their slide rulers and started checking his math. Think about it, we sent men to the moon in vehicles that were designed by engineers using slide rulers to calculate all the precise tollerance in their equipment.
Today I'm glad when the the kid at the cash register can give me the correct change back.
Nice Job Bennie and Brad  for keeping your skills sharp.
Bennie can grow a great beard too!


  1. Oh my Olddog, I just never thought about it the way you have, but you are sooo right! Of coarse, I can't add and subtract with a calculator, lol.
    I went back to college several years ago to get out of the nursing field, and much to my surprise, they had "remedial" classes for most everything in college. Even a remedial class for typing!!!!!????? Have a great week-end:)

  2. At one point both of our children were being taught by the same maths teacher. At a Parents' Evening for daughter he sat back and laughed, saying I had sent him one child at each end of the spectrum. Our son is an A star student, our daughter will be lucky to gain any sort of pass. You wouldn't short change her though, so I think she has mastered the bit that matters!

  3. I think about this a lot too every time a kid can't figure out change at a store. It's simply chaos in a store if there computers go down. I always say " don't you have a pencil and paper?" Crazy!