Ideas for teaching high school and middle school math. Innovative approaches that address the changing ways that today's student learns material.
 
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Zero.

What an interesting concept. I have mentioned that I have used an article in class to introduce even, odd, or neither even or odd function and it turned out well. Just google "zero even odd hurricane sandy" and you will come across articles with comments made that show full on arguments if zero is even of odd. I find that students may have difficult distinguishing between the difference between zero and none. For example, with my Algebra I students we covered x-and y-intercepts and some found it difficult to write "none" instead of zero when identifying the y-intercept for an equation like x = 5.  

Below are great videos that explore zero and one (another good topic) a little bit further. This, I admit, is a rambling post but love these resources! I am starting to use TED Talks in some of my classes. TED-Ed has fabulous lessons that I would recommend checking out. 

 


Comments

03/14/2014 19:42

Zero does tend to generate more questions than answers, but now I have some ammunition. This is the first time I think I have ever seen zero explained from a historical perspective. I will definitely share this post with my 12 year old son. He's at the age where he questions everything! Thanks for the post!

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Jared Johnson
05/30/2014 17:21

The idea of using zero to describe even or odd functions seems logical and appropriate. I teach high school math, and I use zeros frequently. Zeros are known as the identity element in addition; that is to say any number added to zero equals that number. Zero also has a particular property in multiplication. Therefore, any number multiplied by zero is equal to zero. I also use zero to explain to the students that numbers smaller than zero are positive numbers. Most of my students have told me that zero seems like a neutral or starting point number. In terms of area, you can explain to your students that zero is more appropriate than none, furthermore none implies having nothing, but zero represents the area.

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Ideas for teaching high school and middle school math. Innovative approaches that address the changing ways that today's student learns material.