Practical Science Education

 

My wife likes Chick-fil-A  chicken.  Just bought some for tonight.  I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and picked up the potato salad she likes behind the deli counter.  Asked for a pint instead of pointing to a container size, which they usually have on display.  The high schooler, or perhaps community college student, said she didn’t know what that meant.

The next customer in line, a generation younger than me, looked quizzically.  After asking her to show me the small container, and after not understanding why, she acquiesced.  She pulled out the small container and said, “This is a one pound container”.  The “next in line” woman said that was a pint container. I added that their large container is a quart.  While filling my container “next in line” said to me, “I guess they don’t teach things like that anymore.”  I got my potato salad and left.

Imagine a high schooler or community college student not being taught the difference between volume and weight.  The label on my potato salad said 1.18 lbs.  No concept of density and its relationship to volume.  No connection.  It says a lot about our educational system.  It says a bunch about our ability to compete with other countries who do teach fundamentals.

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Now I’m hungry.

    A pint’s a pound the world around (in the case of water).

    • #1
  2. AMD Texas Coolidge
    AMD Texas
    @DarinJohnson

    You are likely correct that it was a pint container and it is also quite likely that what it contained was sold on weight. 

    • #2
  3. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    When we decided to homeachool our son, I told him about meeting one of the teachers from his building school at the educational supply store.  She had taught the other section of Kindergarten and first grade at his building school.   I told him how she was unable to make change and had to use a calculator.  He was very motivated hearing that and still is excellent at doing math in his head.  Weights and measures are taught in math class as well, but they are now obscured by the bizarre methodology that passes for math education.

    • #3
  4. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Arahant (View Comment):

    A pint’s a pound the world around (in the case of water).

    In the case of most foods, too. At least close enough for never mind. Even dried foods. A one-pound bag of beans / lentils / split peas contains two cups of legume.  Same with rice. Since food is mostly water that makes sense.

    • #4
  5. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    They price it by weight and package it by volume. The salespeople should understand both.

    • #5
  6. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    I composed a cynical, sarcastic comment, and before posting – I deleted it. Healthier for me.  I expect I would be preachin’ to the choir anyway.

     

    Your observations seem to be spot on. 

    • #6
  7. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    Perhaps the rise of Artificial Intelligence will compensate the fall of natural intelligence.

    • #7
  8. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Maybe you should have ordered a “Grande”.

    Discover the Starbucks size chart

    The table below shows the cups of coffee sizes with their volumes.

    Name  Measurement Note 
    Short  8 US ounces 240 milliliters This size is smaller compared to the two original sizes
    Tall  12 US ounces 350 milliliters This size is larger compared to the two original sizes
    Grande  16 US ounces 470 milliliters It means ‘large’ in Italian
    Venti – hot 20 US ounces 590 milliliters It means ‘twenty’ in Italian
     Venti – iced         24 US ounces 710 milliliters
    Trenta 30 US ounces 890 milliliters It means ‘thirty’ in Italian
    • #8
  9. Brian Wyneken Member
    Brian Wyneken
    @BrianWyneken

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Now I’m hungry.

    A pint’s a pound the world around (in the case of water).

    Ah, but an “imperial pint” (of beer) is 20 imperial ounces versus the U.S. pint of 16 U.S. ounces. You get more beer with the imperial pint. For that and other reasons they had to drag me on to the plane at Gatwick (44 years ago) – plus my visa had expired.

    • #9
  10. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    A pint’s a pound the world around. 

     

    • #10
  11. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    Perhaps the rise of Artificial Intelligence will compensate the fall of natural intelligence.

    That will probably work out about like the long-ago school kid who said he didn’t need to learn to spell; he was going to have a typewriter.

    • #11
  12. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    • #12
  13. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Garth: She pulled out the small container and said “This is a one pound container”.  The “next in line” woman said that was  a pint container. 

    Might have been worse if they said it was 473 ml, or 450 g.

    • #13
  14. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    Perhaps the rise of Artificial Intelligence will compensate the fall of natural intelligence.

    But remember who the AI is learning from, especially on Reddit…

    • #14
  15. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    When we decided to homeachool our son, I told him about meeting one of the teachers from his building school at the educational supply store. She had taught the other section of Kindergarten and first grade at his building school. I told him how she was unable to make change and had to use a calculator. He was very motivated hearing that and still is excellent at doing math in his head. Weights and measures are taught in math class as well, but they are now obscured by the bizarre methodology that passes for math education.

    I wonder if the teacher also gets the infamous pizza problem wrong?

    • #15
  16. John H. Member
    John H.
    @JohnH

    It’s far simpler in those countries that do teach fundamentals.

    “I have a cubic verst of rubles. How many poods of tsiplyonok-nuggets will that get me?”

    “A lakh.”

    “Hmm.”

    “You can supersize your order and get a crore.”

    Now you’re talkin’!”

    • #16
  17. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    AMD Texas (View Comment):

    You are likely correct that it was a pint container and it is also quite likely that what it contained was sold on weight.

    This.

     

    They don’t price it based on volume – the size of the containers is incidental to what the people behind the counter care about.

    Notice that I’m not saying they shouldn’t know what a pint or a quart are.

     

    • #17
  18. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    John H. (View Comment):

    It’s far simpler in those countries that do teach fundamentals.

    “I have a cubic verst of rubles. How many poods of tsiplyonok-nuggets will that get me?”

    “A lakh.”

    “Hmm.”

    “You can supersize your order and get a crore.”

    Now you’re talkin’!”

    But how many versts of wursts will it take to get a brood of poods for a flock of lakh and a score of crore?🤔🤔🤔

    • #18
  19. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Now I’m hungry.

    A pint’s a pound the world around (in the case of water).

    When anticipating store-bought potato salad I entertain the highest expectations only, all too often, to experience deep disappointment. 

    • #19
  20. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    I tutored math to pick up extra money for a few years. Seventh and eighth graders did not know four quarters equal a dollar.

    Across the  board, fractions were the number one thing that  the students didn’t understand. So I  would bring a pie in for their  lesson and show them how big 1/10th of a pie is. How two 1/10th pieces plus a half of a 1/10th piece equaled a quarter of the pie.

    These were kids from normal middle class backgrounds with a few thrown in who lived in  super affluent households.

    Then one summer at the local grocery, we had a young HS’er who got fired from being a cashier as he couldn’t ring people up. He had no idea what carrots, celery, broccoli etc looked like! And this is in a rural community.

    • #20
  21. She Member
    She
    @She

    They can make more money selling the contents of a pint container by the pound, as evidenced by the fact that you paid for the 1.18lbs of potato salad that had been spooned into the “pint” container.  So they probably train the staff to think in terms of weight rather than volume.

    However, the five minutes that the supermarket spends telling its trainees that potato salad is sold by the pound in no way mitigates the fact that those trainees should have picked up the concepts of weight and volume somewhere else, at some other point in their lives.

    • #21
  22. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    She (View Comment):
    However, the five minutes that the supermarket spends telling its trainees that potato salad is sold by the pound in no way mitigates the fact that those trainees should have picked up the concepts of weight and volume somewhere else, at some other point in their lives.

    I don’t think the employee needs to understand weights or volumes.  There is a small medium large also known as cup pint quart.   The scale does all the other thinking.

    • #22
  23. She Member
    She
    @She

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    However, the five minutes that the supermarket spends telling its trainees that potato salad is sold by the pound in no way mitigates the fact that those trainees should have picked up the concepts of weight and volume somewhere else, at some other point in their lives.

    I don’t think the employee needs to understand weights or volumes. There is a small medium large also known as cup pint quart. The scale does all the other thinking.

    You might understand the AKA logic there.

    However,

    If, in the bit of training that the supermarket gives the employee–if the supermarket doesn’t equate “small, medium, large” with “cup, pint, quart,”  but only with “1/2lb, 1lb, 2lb,” then how should the employee be expected to make the distinction, based only on the training that they’ve received from the supermarket?

    What I am saying is that employees with a reasonable education elsewhere ought to be able to make the association by themselves, and without the supposed “training” offered by their employer, because they should have learned something about weights and volumes in their standard educational curriculum.

    So, yes, I think they should understand the difference between weight and volume.

    • #23
  24. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    It’s been the same for years … 40 years ago as a graduate student and teaching assistant I had a sophomore in my office seeking extra help.   The kid was from New York so they’d passed the NY Stare regents exam to graduate high school.   And they had a semester of undergraduate calculus.    I had them at the blackboard in my office working through some problems.    At one point it was necessary to divide 100 by 15.    No clue.    Not that they did it in a hurry and got it wrong.    But actually had no idea how to proceed.   Long division?   Nope.   Nada.

    20 years ago We were at old Yankee Stadium.   Before the first pitch I was with our kids buying Yankee hats in the team store.   The computerised cash register went out.    The 20-something at the register had a procedure for doing things manually…there was a table of sales tax amounts taped to the counter.    We paid cash.     The 20-something was defeated by making change.    My kids …10 & 12 looked at me like “Really?”   Huge eye rolls.   Finally the oldest one said “It’s 3 dollars and 11 cents.”

    NAEP  testing results.   12 graders

    % of Students Proficient in Math.  
    By race.

    Asian   50-52%

    White  30-32%

    Black      6-8%

    It’s unbelievable but true.

    • #24
  25. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    I tutored math to pick up extra money for a few years. Seventh and eighth graders did not know four quarters equal a dollar.

    Across the board, fractions were the number one thing that the students didn’t understand. So I would bring a pie in for their lesson and show them how big 1/10th of a pie is. How two 1/10th pieces plus a half of a 1/10th piece equaled a quarter of the pie.

    These were kids from normal middle class backgrounds with a few thrown in who lived in super affluent households.

    Then one summer at the local grocery, we had a young HS’er who got fired from being a cashier as he couldn’t ring people up. He had no idea what carrots, celery, broccoli etc looked like! And this is in a rural community.

    Sounds to me like the overall problem was stupidity, if he couldn’t figure it out after being shown.

    • #25
  26. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    It’s been the same for years … 40 years ago as a graduate student and teaching assistant I had a sophomore in my office seeking extra help. The kid was from New York so they’d passed the NY Stare regents exam to graduate high school. And they had a semester of undergraduate calculus. I had them at the blackboard in my office working through some problems. At one point it was necessary to divide 100 by 15. No clue. Not that they did it in a hurry and got it wrong. But actually had no idea how to proceed. Long division? Nope. Nada.

    20 years ago We were at old Yankee Stadium. Before the first pitch I was with our kids buying Yankee hats in the team store. The computerised cash register went out. The 20-something at the register had a procedure for doing things manually…there was a table of sales tax amounts taped to the counter. We paid cash. The 20-something was defeated by making change. My kids …10 & 12 looked at me like “Really?” Huge eye rolls. Finally the oldest one said “It’s 3 dollars and 11 cents.”

    NAEP testing results. 12 graders

    % of Students Proficient in Math.
    By race.

    Asian 50-52%

    White 30-32%

    Black 6-8%

    It’s unbelievable but true.

    And yet they’re (mostly) allowed to vote.

    • #26
  27. Jim Kearney Member
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Someone needs to make an iPad case in the black and white design of the old “Composition” books, and put a “weights and measures” list on the back.

    • #27
  28. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Maybe you should have ordered a “Grande”.

    Discover the Starbucks size chart

    The table below shows the cups of coffee sizes with their volumes.

    Name Measurement Note
    Short 8 US ounces 240 milliliters This size is smaller compared to the two original sizes
    Tall 12 US ounces 350 milliliters This size is larger compared to the two original sizes
    Grande 16 US ounces 470 milliliters It means ‘large’ in Italian
    Venti – hot 20 US ounces 590 milliliters It means ‘twenty’ in Italian
    Venti – iced 24 US ounces 710 milliliters
    Trenta 30 US ounces 890 milliliters It means ‘thirty’ in Italian

    Pretensions, thy name is Starbucks.

    • #28
  29. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    It’s been the same for years … 40 years ago as a graduate student and teaching assistant I had a sophomore in my office seeking extra help. The kid was from New York so they’d passed the NY Stare regents exam to graduate high school. And they had a semester of undergraduate calculus. I had them at the blackboard in my office working through some problems. At one point it was necessary to divide 100 by 15. No clue. Not that they did it in a hurry and got it wrong. But actually had no idea how to proceed. Long division? Nope. Nada.

    20 years ago We were at old Yankee Stadium. Before the first pitch I was with our kids buying Yankee hats in the team store. The computerised cash register went out. The 20-something at the register had a procedure for doing things manually…there was a table of sales tax amounts taped to the counter. We paid cash. The 20-something was defeated by making change. My kids …10 & 12 looked at me like “Really?” Huge eye rolls. Finally the oldest one said “It’s 3 dollars and 11 cents.”

    NAEP testing results. 12 graders

    % of Students Proficient in Math.
    By race.

    Asian 50-52%

    White 30-32%

    Black 6-8%

    It’s unbelievable but true.

    And yet they’re (mostly) allowed to vote.

    Most Leftist issues are explained by this one statistic.

    • #29
  30. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Jim Kearney (View Comment):

    Someone needs to make an iPad case in the black and white design of the old “Composition” books, and put a “weights and measures” list on the back.

    The rods of the copybook headings.

    • #30
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