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Formulas

Tuesday, November 21, 2017   (6 Comments)
Posted by: Bryan Mixer
 

Does anyone still use formulas?  Or do we just put variables into a computer program and let it kick out an answer?  

When I was freshman in high school, I was taught quadratic equations.  I am not sure that I ever really learned them.  
One Sunday afternoon my dad wanted me to help him do something, and found me at the dining room table with my algebra book doing the homework.  As I labored over the problem, going step by step, using half a sheet of paper and twenty minutes to solve one equation, my dad leaned over my shoulder and bellowed "It's SIX!  Look at it, it's OBVIOUSLY six!"  That was the last time my dad (an engineer at John Deere who majored in both math and physics) was allowed to "oversee" my math homework.

How many of us who have "a bit of experience" today look at the interns and want to say "it's six, just look at it!"  I know that I have, and on more than one occasion.  So where does the problem begin, and where do we solve it?  

My first thought is that the students should be taught on paper, with a pencil:  how to do takeoffs, how to use a formula, which formula to use at which time, all before they touch the computer system.  Until you know the basics, you can't possibly know the advanced.  I hope I do not sound like the angry old neighbor yelling at the kids to get off their lawn; but we, as a Society, need to find a solution before there is no one left who remembers "Length times Width times Height divide by 27."

 

Any ideas you want to share about your successes in this area ?

 

Bryan Mixer, CPE

Standards Committee

Comments...

Kiemtuyet Kirkpatrick says...
Posted Thursday, November 30, 2017
I was taught to do a takeoff on paper, set up formulas in Excel spreadsheet, and use calculator only in the office not when perform site visit or in the meeting. Now a day, a person have a calculator in cell phone. The world is changing and no one can stop it.
William Brady says...
Posted Wednesday, November 29, 2017
I think the horse is out of the barn and running wild across the countryside on using computers for everything imaginable. I think the thing to do is to teach process and structure of an estimate. Most firms use Excel and maybe a data base program like MC2 or Sage. Teaching proper formula structure and linking of results within those programs would be the way to go.
Edwin Cluster, Jr. says...
Posted Monday, November 27, 2017
You will not change the minds of the younger people going into any occupation. They are now taught, starting in middle school, how to use a computer to find out anything they need to know. The world is changing and no one can stop it. When our parents were young their parents told them they were doing everything wrong and ruining the world and our parents told us we were making the world go to hell in a hand basket. Every older generation has thought that the younger generation should do things the same way that they did them. But every generation faces the changes and adapts to them to keep every thing going. Just because its different does not make it wrong.
Edwin Cluster, Jr. says...
Posted Monday, November 27, 2017
You will not change the minds of the younger people going into any occupation. They are now taught, starting in middle school, how to use a computer to find out anything they need to know. The world is changing and no one can stop it. When our parents were young their parents told them they were doing everything wrong and ruining the world and our parents told us we were making the world go to hell in a hand basket. Every older generation has thought that the younger generation should do things the same way that they did them. But every generation faces the changes and adapts to them to keep every thing going. Just because its different does not make it wrong.
Richard Miller says...
Posted Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Bryan the problem you describe is so true and it's foundation is in laziness. The one favorite of mine for getting into the minds of the young and aspiring estimator is the conversion of bank cubic yards to tonnage. Density we don't need no density and what of the shrink and swell ehh...
Larry Lucero says...
Posted Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Well put Bryan. I have found myself doing that. We have to remember how it was for us starting out in estimating, and how our mentors showed us patience. I was taught to do a takeoff on paper plans. Learning the basics will go a long way to helping a young estimator learn his or her craft.

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