Don't get me wrong, I like this book. It has some great explorative exercises that have appropriately challenged my students. For example, look at this exercise to help students derive the 30-60-90 triangle relationships. Take an equilateral triangle, its altitude, and the Pythagorean Theorem to find out the special relationships between the shorter leg, longer leg, and hypotenuse. Great.
Here's where I start to beat my head against the wall. The book uses diagrams that simply shouldn't be used, especially in the context of 30-60-90 triangles. Look closely...
That's right, the 30 degree angle is opposite the longer (drawn) leg for questions 1, 3, and 4. My students get bothered by this contradiction. I do too. I have no problem admitting this to them. I'm honest with them saying, "I know guys. It goes against everything we strive to do in here. I encourage you guys to attend to precision and check for reasonableness. Yet, I give you this. I'm sorry. It says at the top 'not drawn to scale', but they should be drawn to scale. Right guys?!"
I think this about sums it up. Students will come up and ask about the dimensions they've solved for and whether or not they're reasonable. I'm proud of my students for making sense of their answers and checking for reasonableness. I know something is a skew when my response to those students is,
"I never assume those things are drawn to scale."I feel rotten saying this to students. I feel like I've just provided them with a worthless and menial task. I've let them down. I feel dirty. Mr. Stadel's quality control group hasn't done their job. What message are we sending students? Do they think we're out to trick them? Do the directions read, "Find the mistakes?" They should. It's times like these that force me to (gladly) keep a closer eye on the content I provide my students with. Don't just throw some triangles at them with random angles and units. Make sure they're reasonable.
Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever been caught in this situation? What did you do? How do we avoid these situations again? How do we demand better quality content from publishers? How do we make sure we provide our students with content that matches the CCSS and Mathematical Practices? Maybe you're okay with these types of diagrams, so please explain why. I want to hear from you all on this.
nOt tO sCAlE,