Saturday, December 2, 2023

Mathematics textbook author gives the human hand one finger too many

How many fingers on the human hand? Authors of a mathematics textbook appear to be confused.

A new textbook issued by the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) for second-grade primary school students features an unusual image that could cause confusion in counting exercises: a human hand with an extra finger.

The department has acknowledged the error, attributing it to a misprint, but not before social media users went to town to mock the mistake.

“The new education model now considers that the new generation [of students] will evolve and mutate until they have six fingers,” teacher Fátima Loaiza Baltazar wrote on Facebook.

“It’s inclusive of people with six fingers on their hands,” one person commented, a thought echoed by another who wrote that “people with extra fingers have been made to feel invisible until now.”

In a statement that recognized the mistake in the image, the SEP also said that “there is no conceptual or didactic error” in the activity it accompanies, an exercise whose aim is to make students think about different ways to make measurements by using objects — or body parts — that are part of their everyday lives.

“These types of marginal errors . . . tend to show up, according to the editorial industry, in the order of four to five times in a copy of any kind of book and in almost every language,” the statement said.

The newspaper Milenio pointed out that on the very next page, there is a spelling mistake.

The SEP said the hand illustration error has now been corrected in the electronic version of the textbook, adding that teachers, students and parents can download and print it if they wish.

In the meantime, the new class of second-grade students across the country will do well to count on their own hands to ensure they come up with the answer they are looking for.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp)

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