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Volume 4, Number 13A  -  March 1999 Discussions

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31 March 1999                                 Vol. 4, No. 13A


  This special issue of the Math Forum's weekly newsletter
  highlights recent interesting conversations on Internet 
  math discussion groups.

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


  Replies to individual discussions should be addressed to
  the appropriate group rather than to the newsletter editor.

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                     MARCH SUGGESTIONS:  

AMTE - the mailing list of the Association of Mathematics 
Teacher Educators, archived by the Math Forum at:
- The teaching of our teachers (3 Mar 1999)

 "...most [of our] students have trouble understanding what
  they are doing. They can tell you how to divide fractions, 
  but they cannot tell you what dividing fractions means. 
  How do we, as teacher educators, help our students to 
  understand the 'why's of math, instead of just the 'how's?
  Are there now, or have there been, programs that address 
  this issue?... How are they helping students understand math
  in ways that will make them better teachers? Has research 
  been done that investigates the impact of this type of course 
  on prospective teachers' attitudes toward, and ability to 
  teach, mathematics?"  - Aaron Dvorsky

 "...this is the problem that I face with nearly every student
  every semester... It is clear that the 'old way', the 
  traditional, rote learning method, was not successful in 
  teaching math to students... Here are some ideas, 
  necessarily brief..." - Frances Stern

 "...even though students [may be] processing ideas in multiple
  ways, the representations tend to become uniform. This 
  inhibits the appreciation of mathematical thinking and 
  ultimately the creativity..." - John Grant McLoughlin

 "...Maybe we need to scale back our initial expectations and
  help preservice teachers with concrete strategies... What
  I'd really like to do is to follow them into their first 
  few years of teaching and push them to keep conscious about 
  what they are trying to accomplish in their mathematics 
  teaching..." - Susan Friel

  An ongoing and wide-ranging discussion that offers concrete
  examples for teaching specific skills in the classroom and 
  explores ways of providing models for pre-service teachers, 
  asking such questions as whether some people are "naturally 
  averse" to math and whether it is true that "teachers teach 
  the way they were taught," with some participants posting 
  links to syllabi they have used in teaching elementary 
  education courses and sharing information about the field 
  experience component of their courses. You are invited to
  participate in the conversation.
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CALC-REFORM - a mailing list hosted by by e-MATH of the 
American Mathematical Society (AMS) and archived at

  Read a discussion sparked by a quote from Anthony Ralston's
  paper, "Let's Abolish Pencil-and-Paper Arithmetic": 

 "... just as attaining number sense is the essential goal of 
  teaching arithmetic, attaining symbol sense should be the 
  essential goal of algebra..." - posted by Jerry Uhl
- Ralston paper (9 Mar 1999)

- Re: Ralston paper, paper & pencil calculus (10 Mar 1999)

  See also:

- PPA and MA (13 Mar 1999)

- What is PPA and MA? (12 Mar 1999)
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HISTORIA-MATEMATICA - a virtual forum for scholarly discussion 
of the history of mathematics in a broad sense, among 
professionals and non-professionals with a serious interest in 
the field, archived at

  Why Euclid gives geometric constructions in Book II that one 
  might well expect to be postponed until after the general 
  theory of proportion was developed, a thread begun by 
  Roger Cooke:

- Euclid, Book II (14 Mar 1999)

  See Heinz Lueneburg's March 23 post, offering a link to
  dvi files in German from his number theory class, which 
  draws on Euclid's Books VII, VIII, and IX.

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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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