Mathematics education uncovered and recovered

Mastering measurements

I’ve been to an open day in a secondary school recently. To entertain curious children, the maths department prepared a series of questions for them to answer. The numerical answers obtained were then added together to get the final number which, if correct, would earn a prize.

One of the questions asked how long a distance between the classroom doors was and thus didn’t have a purely numerical answer, as any measurement is a combination of a number and a unit used. I pointed it out to a maths teacher saying that the same distance can be expressed in different ways depending on what we take as a unit length, and gave examples. The teacher smiled politely, but didn’t see anything wrong with the question.

Well, never mind, not a big deal after all.

Still, it’s very painful to see a distance declared to be a percentage of the square of a speed:  

Or is it just me?