Tag Archives: Math

Chinese Mathematics Stereotypes?… Story by Alex Chow

‘’Chinese students are geniuses in mathematics”—Is it a stereotype?

If there are Chinese students in your school, people will perceive they are geniuses in mathematics. This is the most trivial stereotype about Chinese, but does it hold any truth?

Here are the statistics: according to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) which is a standardized test among the globe, when it comes to mathematics Chinese students are always in the top of the academic pile. There are up to 30 percent of students in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan that reached the highest level in math performance.

However, American students are in the bottom, as 25 percent of American students did not reach the PISA baseline for “level 2” in math proficiency. Comparatively only about 10 percent of students in countries such as Canada, Korea, Shanghai, and Singapore, failed to reach that benchmark. Also, there are only two percent of students in America that achieved the top performance.

Mapping IQ... The supposed average IQ of different countries is listed, with China's slightly above the US's. Photo By: Our World in Data.
Mapping IQ… The supposed average IQ of different countries is listed, with China’s slightly above the US’s. Photo By: Our World in Data.

First off, many Chinese have higher intelligence quotient (IQ) than their American counterparts. This is backed by the research of Richard Lynn, a British Professor of Psychology, and Tatu Vanhanen, a Finnish Professor of Political Science, who conducted IQ studies in more than 80 countries. Hong Kong’s citizens have the highest intelligence quotient among the world, at an average of 108, while the average in America is 98. IQ is another possible reason how the current stereotype on Chinese math skills came to be. However, there are known faults in this test, and while it can sometimes accurately gauge proficiency it is not definitive—acquired cultivation also plays a vital role in mathematics.

As you may know, China has a much higher education standard than America. The width and depth of the syllabus of mathematics in China is superior to America. In China, mathematics is a compulsory subject, students have mathematics class nearly every school day. Chinese students have longer time to learn and practice mathematics than American.’’ Practice makes perfect.’’ It may prove that Chinese is not genius, but are hard-workers.

Additionally, the competitive Chinese society boosts the academic results of students. In China, there is a famous saying ,” Knowledge can offer you a new leaf.’’ Chinese people believe that studying in a good college can push them into an upper social class. As a result, there are huge competition for colleges.

Rigorous Testing... National tests in China create a lot more competition than in the US. Photo By: ICEC.
Rigorous Testing… National tests in China create a lot more competition than in the US. Photo By: ICEC.

For example, there are only 18% of students in Hong Kong have a chance to study in colleges. China has the greatest Gini’s coefficient, education is the ladder for people getting rid of poverty. Thus, Chinese students study very hard. On the other hand, there are far less competition in America. There is not a vast gap between blue and white collar workers. Even if students cannot study in colleges, they could still have decent income. Hence, American students have smaller motivation to strike for excellence in academic.

Last , the mindset about studying. The Chinese have a growth mindset while America has a fixed mindset. Growth mindset is all about diligence—in general, Chinese students believe excellence can only be achieved by hard work instead of talent. If they aren’t doing well, they’ll work harder, and they’ll be successful. However, American students tend to believe in talent, if they don’t get a good result at the beginning, usually they will not try to put more effort to improve it as they think themselves are not good at it.

To conclude, Chinese students outperform American students in mathematics is not because they are geniuses, it is because of the work ethic behind the excellence.

 

Mr. Benage joins FBCS… Story by Aurora Reishus

There’s a new face at the Forrest Bird Charter School. This new face belongs to Mr. William (Bill) Benage, the new math teacher. Mr. Benage has been teaching since 1993, and before he became a teacher, he was in the U.S. Navy.

How good are you with money?... Mr. Benage teaches about car loans in his Personal Finance class.
How good are you with money?… Mr. Benage teaches about car loans in his Personal Finance class. .

When asked if Mr. Benage enjoyed his time in the Navy, he replied with a laugh and went on to say “I didn’t stay 29 years to say I didn’t like it; of course, I enjoyed it.” During those 29 years, Mr. Benage worked on a lot of things including guided missile systems.

Mr. Benage received some teaching experience while he was in the Navy. The experience of teaching in the Navy helped him make the choice to become a teacher later in life. “Getting ready to retire for the Navy I was looking around and went oh that’ll be fun to do,” exclaimed Mr. Benage.

Mr. Benage went to California State University in Long Beach where he received his Bachelor’s in Finance (1976), received his Master’s in Business Management from the University of Southern California (1977), and then received his Master’s for Engineering Science in 1989 from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Be a leader… Mr. Benage wraps up the meeting for Leadership Club.
Be a leader… Mr. Benage wraps up the meeting for Leadership Club.

As much as Mr. Benage enjoys teaching, there are other things outside of school that he enjoys. In his free time, Mr. Benage finds he enjoys gardening, raising poultry, and hanging out with his family. When Mr. Benage was younger, he was also into photography. Mr. Benage also contributes to the school community at FBCS as the advisor for the Leadership club. This is the club that will do many of the things that student council used to do (Click here to view the Harrison Report on Leadership club).

Although new to FBCS, Mr. Benage is not new to teaching. He has had a lot of life experience and is more than willing to find time to help people. If anyone has questions about a Military career, Mr. Benage is the person to ask.

All Photos by Aurora Reishus.

The Harrison Report: Leadership Club

The Bird Eye News is back again and ready for the 2017-18 year. For our first report we introduce you to a new teacher, Mr. Benage. He is a math teacher and our new personal finance teacher at the school. In this interview we discuss his recently formed leadership club and how it has taken the tasks of the our cancelled student council.

Of Physics and Donuts… Story by John Holmes

What do donuts and superconductors have in common? The answer comes in a relatively astounding discovery, as the Nobel Prize Laureates in Physics – David Thouless, F. Duncan Haldane, and J. Michael Kosterlitz – can attest.

Donuts and math…to a topologist, a great combination. Photo by: John Holmes.
Donuts and math…to a topologist, a great combination. Photo by: John Holmes.

So, what is the common thread between pastries and physics? The answer lies in topology. Topology, also known as “rubber sheet geometry,” studies the various ways an object can be formed without being broken. Though topology has many similarities to geometry, topology differs due to its concern with holes. The more holes an object has in it, the more likely it is to be broken when forming a new shape. This is where the donut comes in. A donut has a hole in it, so if you wanted to form it into the shape of a slice of pizza, you would have to tear the donut apart. This, to a topologist, would make a donut different than a slice of pizza. However, since a slice of pizza has no holes, it can – theoretically – be formed into the shape of an apple, making an apple equivalent to a slice of pizza.

Perhaps, an easier explanation can be derived by using two-dimensional objects. A square, since it has no holes, can be formed into a circle, but a figure-eight cannot be shaped into a square due to its holes. In this example, a square is equivalent to a circle, but a figure-eight is not equivalent to a square.

The Laureates related this to the realm of condensed matter physics, using superconductors instead of donuts. Up until the early 1970’s, the popular theory was that thin layers of electrically conductive materials could not become superconductive. However, Michael Kosterlitz and David Thouless overturned that theory by demonstrating how superconductivity could occur at low temperatures. Later, in the 1980’s, Thouless showed that previous experiments with thin-film superconductors – in which the conductance was measured as integers – were topological in nature. Around that time, Duncan Haldane related topological concepts to chains of small magnets found in certain materials.

A square is equivalent to a circle…but a circle is not equivalent to a figure eight. Photo by: John Holmes.
A square is equivalent to a circle…but a circle is not equivalent to a figure eight. Photo by: John Holmes.

So, how do these concepts correlate to donuts? Through phase transitions. When a given amount of heat is added to – or taken from – matter, it can change from one state to another. This happens when heating an ice cube: the ice melts, changing from a solid to a liquid. Likewise, the opposite is true. When freezing water, heat leaves the system, thus the water transforms from a liquid to a solid. Normally, matter changes between four states – solid, liquid, gaseous, and plasma. However, a change in temperature can also change the electrical properties of matter. These changes occur rapidly – similar to how the donut has a rapid change when it is broken; this is a topological phenomenon. That’s the discovery these three Laureates made – using topology to analyze the phase transitions of a material. Thanks to this discovery, we now know that this does not only occur in thin materials but in ordinary three-dimensional objects as well.

But what can this realization lead to? In addition to advancing research in condensed matter physics, the hope is it will lead to advancements in electronics and superconductors, or even quantum computers. By understanding the flow of electrons through superconductors, electronic components can be made extremely efficient, with little to no electrical resistance. As for the effect on quantum computing, an understanding of the quantum super-cooled, quantum state of electrons in matter will help to build inexpensive and efficient quantum computers – making problem solving and database searches much faster. Through the discoveries made by these three Laureates, the future of electronics and computing technologies looks bright.

Math: Defense against the Dark Arts… Story By: Dave Dowel

Math: Defense against the Dark Arts… Story By: Dave Dowel

 

The three math teacher that current working at the FBCS – Photo by Dave Dowel
The three math teacher that current working at the FBCS – Photo by Dave Dowel

Is the Math teachers of (Forrest Bird Charter School) FBCS the new defense against the dark arts the new position? Well it just might be. The school has had 15 different math teacher in six year and 9 of those have taught high school math. Why does this happen? Well the FBCS is different. We are mostly a technology based school. Every student has a Computer that they carry around and most of the work is done on canvas. Teachers put most of assignment on canvas (Canvas only been around for 3 years so some of the teacher did not use Canvas). This can be hard for a new teacher because it could make them mad or they could not get how to use canvas for anything that is important for the FBCS. Mrs. Goodwin said about “I think that the teacher just need to get use to the school and the way it works and the town of Sandpoint”, Mrs. Holland said this about the same topic “I am not able to comment on that. I am very happy to be part of the math department now that I am a teacher at FBCS”.

 

Mrs. Goodwin teaching her SAT Prep class, on the Left to right is Jack Meier, Wyatt Huckbey, Mrs. Goodwin and Kelsey. – Photo by Dave Dowel
Mrs. Goodwin teaching her SAT Prep class, on the Left to right is Jack Meier, Wyatt Huckbey, Mrs. Goodwin and Kelsey. – Photo by Dave Dowel

The 9 of the 15 teacher that work in the High School were/are Stephen Finicle, Hemu Achanja, Gloria Hanson, Vicki Downing, Darlene QuirinMai, Jess Logan, Angie Goodwin, Lyndsay Holland, and Krysten Harrison. Four of those people still work here, Mrs. QuirinMai, Mrs. Goodwin, Mrs. Holland and Krysten Harrison. This trimester Mrs. QuirinMai is doing online Personal Finance, Mrs. Goodwin is at the school every day, Krysten Harrison has gone back to teaching 8th grade math and Mrs. Holland is here only on Monday, Wednesday and half of Friday. This is like Harry Potter books. Hogwarts School went through 7 teacher in 7 years. Hogwarts went through several be Quirinus Quirrell, Gilderoy Lockhart, Remus Lupin, Bartemius Crouch Jr., Dolores Umbridge, Severus Snape, Amycus Carrow. There is only one person that as not died in these books that is Carrow and everyone else died or run off.

Ann Conwell is working on a Project in 7th Grade math. Photo by Dave Dowel
Ann Conwell is working on a Project in 7th Grade math. Photo by Dave Dowel

Does this mean anything the teachers of FBCS, well it could mean anything, they could stay or they could leave, but Mrs. Goodwin could said “Forrest Bird Charter School is a positive, Friendly environment to in and I think that we have a strong math department and I’m happy to be part of it”.  So is the FBCS Math Department the new Defense against the Dark Art of Harry Potter, well it looks like it.