Monday, October 31, 2016

Scary Stories

A pair of scary math-education anecdotes by Junaid Mubeen, for your consideration:
  • How Old is the Shepherd? When 8th-graders are asked a short question with absolutely no information about age whatsoever, 3-in-4 will report some numerical result anyway. Repeated in numerous experiments. Watch a video.

  • I Can't Believe It's Not Unproven. Mubeen's 12-year-old nephew comes home with a math problem that can't be solved; he is shown a proof of that fact, and agrees to all the steps and the conclusion. Nephew spends the rest of the evening trying to find an answer anyway.

I don't really agree with Mubeen's rather broad conclusions at the end of the first article. But we can all agree this is a terrifying outcome!


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