Liberal Arts Blog — What Is a Week? How Is This Taught? How Should it Be Taught?

Liberal Arts Blog — Monday is the Joy of Math, Statistics, Shapes, and Numbers Day

Today’s topic — What Is a Week? How Is This Taught? How Should it Be Taught?

A week is seven days, right? Go to Wikipedia and you will learn that A week is a time unit equal to seven days. It is the standard time period used for cycles of rest days in most parts of the world, mostly alongside — although not strictly part of — the Gregorian calendar.” In the four paragraphs of the introduction there is no mention of the fact that there are four weeks in a month and why a month would be divided into four rather than any other number of parts. There is no mention of the fact that a week is a natural division of the lunar cycle — the time unit between a.) no moon to half moon, b.) half moon to full moon, c.) full moon to half moon, and d.) half moon to no moon. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

KINDERGARTNERS SHOULD LEARN THE ASTRONOMICAL ORIGIN OF THE WEEK

1. This is the perfect opportunity to connect math, observation, and language.

2. I don’t think I learned the connection between the word month and the word moon until I was in my 40s if not later.

3. Etymology of “week” — from old German “wik” — to “turn, change.” No relation to “Wikipedia” which is from “WikiWikiWeb” (1995) which is from the Hawaiian “wikiwiki” which means “fast, swift.”

NB: A week is a unit to time defined by the phase changes of the moon. The subsequent division of the week into seven days is a function of the rotation of the earth seven times during each phase change.

A CANARY IN THE COAL MINE OF MATH, SCIENCE, AND LANGUAGE EDUCATION

1. Education is about trained observation. It’s about teaching how to make sense of the world. It’s about paying closer attention to everything and connecting the dots.

2. Everything involves math, everything involves words, everything involves science.

3. To not teach these connections is a pedagogical crime.

IT’S A HALF MOON OUTSIDE, HOW LONG BEFORE THE NEXT FULL MOON?

1. It took me seven years to find an Adams House math or physics major born in the US to answer this question correctly. That is if the student was born in the US.

2. Every Harvard physics or math major born in Romania, a relatively poor Eastern European country, answered this question correctly within seven seconds. What are they doing right in Romanian science education?

3. Could it be that they are teaching kindergarteners the meaning of a week?

NB: Any other canaries in the coal mine of math, science, and language education in the US ?

Week

https://www.starhop.com/blog/2020/4/15/3snepogcqmy2txjc4pb36njs93m8lm

Last three years of posts organized thematically:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

YOUR TURN

Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to math, statistics, or numbers in general. Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in your life related to math.

This is your chance to make someone else’s day. And to consolidate in your memory something you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.