Let’s get back to the basics

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Let’s get back to the basics

Will Conybeare, Staff Writer

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Do you know the difference between Vermont and New Hampshire? How about Nebraska and Kansas?  If you don’t know, don’t worry.  Not very many people do, considering we don’t even skim over the topic after elementary school.  Our generation of kids is going to have no idea where they are, and how they got there.   We NEED to teach this more.

How good do you think you are at finding the states on a map?  Out of 15 Wind-Up staffers tested on this seemingly easy task, I found that they were able to name an average of 44 states.  Three of the 14 got perfect 50s, while the lowest score was 34.  Most of the confusion was in the Northeast, with some also struggling with Virginia and North Carolina, and Mississippi and Alabama.  Want to check out this quiz?  A link will be included at the bottom of the article so you can test your knowledge.  This test can be a challenge for everyone; from honors kids, to your average C student.

Jack Veersma, 12, has trouble finding the states on a map.  When he took the quiz himself, he got a 37.  “I think we just learn the states around us and the big states,” said Jack.  “A refresher on US geography would be nice.  The

Midwest and Northeast really confused me, and I think we should know almost every state.”

Now let’s not forget about math, where long division, something we all learned in elementary school, can wreak havoc on even the brightest of St. Joe students.  Patrick Sohn, 12, is in AP Calculus BC, the highest level math class in SJHS.  However, he admits that he does have trouble with long division.  “Long division without a calculator is hard,” said Patrick.  “We don’t get very many chances to refresh our memories with the simple stuff, since we all now have calculators and our phones to help us.  But if I got some practice at long division without a calculator, I think I’d be alright at it.”

So, think about it.  How would you attempt to find the √π ÷ i³ – 17.823 if you didn’t remember long division?  I’ll give you the answer:  you won’t.  How about planning a road trip with your friends?  You might end up in North Dakota instead of North Carolina!  That wouldn’t be so good, would it.  No student in any class is getting a refresher on the most basic of topics, and while something like that might seem diminutive, it has a big impact.

Overall, we need to get back to the basics.  I think at the beginning of each year, we should go over the simple stuff, so that we as students don’t fall behind on the difficult stuff.  Because, if you want to succeed, you have to conquer the simple stuff first.