Math Forum Internet News

Volume 3, Number 39A  -  September 1998 Discussions

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30 September 1998                                 Vol. 3, No. 39A


This special issue of the Math Forum's weekly newsletter  
highlights interesting conversations taking place during
September of 1998 on Internet math discussion groups. 

For a full list of these groups, with links to topics covered
and information on how to subscribe, see:


If you would prefer to receive a  discussion group newsletter 
every other week instead of once a month, or if you would like 
a Web page with links to current interesting conversations 
across a variety of groups, please let us know by writing to:

                 the Math Forum Internet Newsletter editors
______________________________ + ______________________________

                     SEPTEMBER SUGGESTIONS:                    
AMTE - the mailing list of the Association of Mathematics 
Teacher Educators, archived by the Math Forum at:

- "Multiplication charts" (23 Sept. 1998)

- "Basic Facts" (24 Sept. 1998)

   Should children know their multiplication tables? Should 
   they be allowed to use calculators in the classroom to find 
   basic facts? Can calculators teach multiplication facts? 

   A spirited discussion with tips for teaching multiplication 
   from Wayne Bishop, Randolph Philipp, Marilyn Simon, Julita 
   Lambating, and Ruth Parker; a game from Stephen Sproule;  
   and citations from Andy Isaacs to the NCTM Standards on 
   computational competence and mastering basic facts. 

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AP-CALC - the Advanced Placement Calculus mailing list, hosted 
by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and archived at:
- "new new math limit" (10 Sept. 1998)
  "I recently saw a course objective for first semester 
   calculus that suggested that the student will learn to find 
   the limit of a function defined by a table, a graph or an 
   analytical expression. I practically swallowed my tongue.  
   Anybody else see a problem with this?"  - Geoff Hagopian

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APSTAT-L - the Advanced Placement Statistics mailing list,
archived by the Math Forum at:

- "Standard Normal Tables" (20 Sept. 1998)
  "Does the Ap Stat test include questions that will require 
   standardizing data and using normal tables or can my 
   students just use the TI-83's Normalcdf (lower bound, upper
   bound, mean, st. dev.) and Invnorm (percentile, mean, st. 
   dev.)? ... my students justifiably want to know why they are
   using a table when they all have a TI-83." - Paul Chiment

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MATHEDU, a mailing list set up to discuss issues in Mathematics/
Education at the post-calculus level, and archived at:
- "Diagrams and formal arguments" (14 Sept. 1998)
  "Bob Burn and I have been working on a revision of his book 
   Numbers and Functions. This is a first course in epsilon-delta 
   analysis. In particular we are planning to include many more 
   diagrams. We find ourselves in a dilemma. On the one hand 
   diagrams certainly make understanding more profound, more 
   rounded and deeper. On the other hand, one of the things one 
   is (normally) trying to introduce to students in this course 
   is a more formal method of arguing.... 
  "Since one of our objectives is to teach students to argue more 
   formally and to distinguish formal arguments from appeals to 
   the intuition, we would be very dissatisfied with responses 
   from mathedu that told us not to bother with formality. 
   Incidentally, the two-column method was emphasized on this 
   list a few months ago. Its use is one of the many things we 
   have learned from the list." - David Epstein
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NUMERACY, for those interested in the discussion of educational 
issues around adult mathematical literacy, archived at:
- "Order of Operations" (15 Sept. 1998)
  "Can anyone help me with this math hint and accompanying 
   example given in a book I used this spring with an ABE class?  
   The hint reads 'All operations above a division line must be 
   completed before the division can be performed.'..."
      - Esther D. Leonelli
  "...we wrote a chapter called "Where do we start?" which 
   attempted to demonstrate what order you needed to do the 
   operations, but through everyday applications related to 
   shopping, etc., using money. Using these applications we 
   tried to show that in order to write down 'our' calculations 
   and get the answer you know you should get, you need some 
   conventions so that everyone (including when we use the 
   calculator) gets the same answer..." - Dave Tout
  "One of the interesting things about the order of operations  
   is that it is only necessary to consciously think about it for 
   written expressions (in other words, expressions in which the 
   order of computing the problem has been determined by someone 
   else). As soon as we see what practical situation the
   calculations relate to we have a sense of the order to apply 
   the operations in." - Brian G. Cann
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  We hope you will find these selections useful, and that you
  will browse and participate in the discussion group(s) of
  your choice. 

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