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21世纪大学英语读写基础教程 Unit7

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Unit 7

Text A

"Why do I have to learn math? I'll never use this again in my whole life." This kind of complaining can often be heard among students. Is it true that nobody needs math? Well, the author is going to tell you the story...

Math, Who Needs It?

Carlie Vanwilligen

"That'll be $6.52," the cashier said. I handed her a $10 bill. She looked at it, then looked at me. As I waited, she started writing on a pad of paper. After what seemed like several minutes, she handed me the change. "$4.52 is your change," she smiled.
I stared at the change, then at her. "That's not right," I said. She looked at me, confused. "I gave you a $10, the change would be $3.48." I handed the money back to her.
"I'm sorry," she replied. "Our computer is down, and I have to do this by hand. I'm not very good at math." She counted out my change, and I left.
As I think back on this exchange, I feel sad, sad because it wasn't the first time it had happened, sad because I know it won't be the last. I taught high school math for years, and every year, the conversation was the same: "Why do I have to learn this? This isn't important. I'll never use this again in my whole life."
Unfortunately, students don't see the eventual1 impact of studying a subject. And when that subject is math, they see the value even less. I no longer teach full-time2, but I look back on those conversations and think about how my reactions changed each year. The first year I taught, the question caught me off guard. "Because" was my standard answer. The second year, my response was similar, "If you want to graduate, you learn this stuff." It took me until my third year of teaching to realize that, if I genuinely wanted students to learn, they needed motivation. So, instead of my standard "because" and "if you want to pass" answers, I asked them what they'd like to do when they graduate—or when they "grow up". For each career path, I had "math" that they needed to know in order to be successful. For the construction workers, architects, and engineers, there was the geometry involved in getting a building to stand solidly. For the prospective3 teacher, it was the statistics involved in seeing if your tests were fair to the students. For the prospective "I want to be a stay-at-home mom", there was the calculating involved in maintaining a household. For the financial wizard wanna-be, there was the understanding of economics that comes with being a successful investor4 or accountant. For the stubborn, who insisted they didn't want to be anything, and didn't need math, a simple role-play involving them being "ripped-off" when they couldn't make change drove my point home.
Who needs math? We all do! We use it every day. Not only that, but the problem solving we learned during the days of "if one train leaves Springfield at 6:00pm travelling east at 75mph", can now help us with a myriad5 of "adult" crises. Do I have enough gas to get to work and back without filling the tank? Which bills do I pay and when in order to have enough money in the bank? How much grass seed do I need to cover that 10'×10' bare patch in the front yard?
For those still teaching, it is using these examples, and developing activities for students that bring the reality of math into their worlds. For parents, the same holds true. When your child complains that he or she "doesn't get" math, give your child an example. Take your child to the grocery store. Give your child $10. Tell your child to provide a dinner for the family, complete with the four basic food groups and dessert, for that $10. Show your child the importance of thinking mathematically. It will do your child some good—who knows, you might learn something too!
(623 words)

New Words

cashier
n. a person whose job is to receive and pay out money in a shop, hotel, etc. 出纳员

pad
n. 便笺本;拍纸簿

confused
a. unable to think clearly; bewildered 糊涂的,迷惑的

computer
n. a machine that stores information and works out answers 计算机;电脑

conversation
n. informal talk 交谈;谈话

eventual
a. happening at last as a result 最后的;最终的

full-time
ad. 全日地;作为专职
a. 全日的;专任的

reaction
n. behavior, a feeling or an action that is a direct result of sth. else 反应,回应

similar
a. having a likeness6 or resemblance 相似的;类似的

genuinely
ad. really 真正地

motivation
n. 动机,动力,诱因

construction
n. the act or process of constructing 建筑

architect
n. a (qualified) person who designs buildings 建筑师

geometry
n. 几何(学)

involve
vt. 1. cause (sb.) to be connected with 牵涉
2. include or use (sth.) as a necessary part, etc. 包含,含有

solidly
ad. firmly 牢固地,坚固地

* prospective
a. possible, likely, expected; probable 预期的;未来的;可能的

statistics
n. 统计学

calculate
vt. determine by mathematics or by reckoning 计算

maintain
vt. 1. support (sb.) financially 赡养
2. continue to have; keep in existence 保持;维持

financial
a. concerning money and finance 财务的

wizard
n. a person with extraordinary abilities; genius 有非凡才能的人;奇才

wanna
v. (口)= want to

economics
n. 经济学

investor
n. a person who invests money 投资者

accountant
n. 会计师;会计员

* stubborn
a. unreasonably7 unwilling8 to change 顽固的,执拗的

ripped-off
a. (俚语)(人)遭劫的;受剥削的;被欺诈的

pm
(缩)= afternoon 下午(源于拉丁文 post meridiem)

mph
(缩)= miles per hour 英里/小时

tank
n. a large container, usu. for liquid or gas (通常盛液体或气体的)大桶;箱;大容器;油箱

solve
vt. find an answer to (a problem, etc.); explain or make clear 解决;阐明;解释

bare
a. without covering; empty 光秃的,无遮的;空的

patch
n. a small piece of land, esp. one used for growing vegetables (尤指种菜用的)小块土地

complain
vt. & vi. speak in an unhappy, annoyed, dissatisfied way 抱怨;发牢骚

grocery
n. 食品杂货店

basic
a. most simple in nature or level 基本的

dessert
n. any sweet dish, (eg. pie, ice-cream) eaten at the end of a meal (饭后的)甜食(如馅饼,冰激凌)

importance
n. the quality or state of being important 重要性

mathematically
ad. 从数学上

Phrases and Expressions

a pad of
一本(便笺本)

by hand
by a person, not a machine 用手

count out
count (sth.) one by one, esp. slowly 逐一数出

think back on
recall and reconsider (sth. in the past) 回想,回忆

catch sb. off guard
surprise sb. by doing sth. that he or she is not expecting and is not ready for 乘某人不备;使某人措手不及

be involved in
be part of, included in, mixed with 参与;卷入;牵涉进

rip off
cheat (sb.), esp. financially (尤指在钱财上)欺骗

drive sth. home
make sth. clearly understood 把…讲得透彻明白,使充分理解

a myriad of
an extremely large number of 无数;极多

do sb. good
benefit sb. 有益于某人

Proper Names

Carlie Vanwilligen
卡利·范威利根

Springfield
斯普林菲尔德(美国地名)


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 eventual AnLx8     
adj.最后的,结局的,最终的
参考例句:
  • Several schools face eventual closure.几所学校面临最终关闭。
  • Both parties expressed optimism about an eventual solution.双方对问题的最终解决都表示乐观。
2 full-time SsBz42     
adj.满工作日的或工作周的,全时间的
参考例句:
  • A full-time job may be too much for her.全天工作她恐怕吃不消。
  • I don't know how she copes with looking after her family and doing a full-time job.既要照顾家庭又要全天工作,我不知道她是如何对付的。
3 prospective oR7xB     
adj.预期的,未来的,前瞻性的
参考例句:
  • The story should act as a warning to other prospective buyers.这篇报道应该对其他潜在的购买者起到警示作用。
  • They have all these great activities for prospective freshmen.这会举办各种各样的活动来招待未来的新人。
4 investor aq4zNm     
n.投资者,投资人
参考例句:
  • My nephew is a cautious investor.我侄子是个小心谨慎的投资者。
  • The investor believes that his investment will pay off handsomely soon.这个投资者相信他的投资不久会有相当大的收益。
5 myriad M67zU     
adj.无数的;n.无数,极大数量
参考例句:
  • They offered no solution for all our myriad problems.对于我们数不清的问题他们束手无策。
  • I had three weeks to make a myriad of arrangements.我花了三个星期做大量准备工作。
6 likeness P1txX     
n.相像,相似(之处)
参考例句:
  • I think the painter has produced a very true likeness.我认为这位画家画得非常逼真。
  • She treasured the painted likeness of her son.她珍藏她儿子的画像。
7 unreasonably 7b139a7b80379aa34c95638d4a789e5f     
adv. 不合理地
参考例句:
  • He was also petty, unreasonably querulous, and mean. 他还是个气量狭窄,无事生非,平庸刻薄的人。
  • Food in that restaurant is unreasonably priced. 那家饭店价格不公道。
8 unwilling CjpwB     
adj.不情愿的
参考例句:
  • The natives were unwilling to be bent by colonial power.土著居民不愿受殖民势力的摆布。
  • His tightfisted employer was unwilling to give him a raise.他那吝啬的雇主不肯给他加薪。
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TAG标签:   大学英语  读写教程  基础教程  unit
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