Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why can't they have normal names?

Yurimoko is collecting marbles for her marble collection. On Monday she adds 2 marbles. Tuesday, she triples her marbles, and on Wednesday she loses 3 marbles. If she had 33 marbles at the end of Wednesday, how many marbles did Yurimoko start the week with?*
I spent most of my adult life teaching math (among other things) in upper elementary school. If you're like me, you've noticed that names in word problems have changed a bit, like in the paragraph above.  I'm all for broadening the cultural minds of my mostly Caucasian student population, but have you ever asked  yourself, "Why not just call her Mary? I mean, I can't even pronounce half these names." 

I've thought that many times, then I adopted a girl named Bokyung

I was in an elementary math class this morning. An ethnic name came up in a word problem, and I was reminded again... It's not a bad thing for the kids to see names from other countries.  Maybe it's not the complete answer to a culturally sensitive world, but it's a start. 

What do you think? 

*Two disclaimers: 1. I made up the name Yurimoko. 2. I have no idea what the answer is.

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