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25 February 1999 Vol. 4, No. 8A THE MATH FORUM INTERNET NEWS - FEBRUARY 1999 DISCUSSIONS 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: http://mathforum.org/discussions/ Replies to individual discussions should be addressed to the appropriate group rather than to the newsletter editor. ______________________________ + ______________________________ FEBRUARY SUGGESTIONS: AMTE - the mailing list of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, archived by the Math Forum at: http://mathforum.org/epigone/amte/ - My personal list of mysterious difficulties in teaching Math 101 (18 Jan. 1999) http://mathforum.org/epigone/amte/thilzhermly/ http://mathforum.org/epigone/amte/shoxmerbrerd/ "... in all my experience with this class there is still a list of student difficulties that totally baffle me, and in all the discussions that I have heard about math education I have never heard them properly addressed. So I have decided to write them down and see if other math instructors have encountered the same frustrations and if maybe by putting our heads together we can better understand them..." - Shelley Walsh Teaching strategies address absolute value; getting rid of fractions when solving equations by multiplying through by the LCM; using formulas to multiply polynomials; factoring by recognizing something as a perfect square; solving 2 equations in 2 unknowns by graphing or by substitution; and graphing 2-variable linear inequalities. Included are thoughts about the visual approach: students not reading mathematical expressions as having meaning in language, but manipulating them more like pictures; memorization; the difficulty of covering a great many topics in relatively few contact hours (less really is more); and the potential advantages of pointing out "pitfalls" in advance of their occurrence. ______________________________ + ______________________________ MATH-HISTORY-LIST - an unmoderated group dealing with the history of mathematics, archived by the Math Forum at: http://mathforum.org/epigone/math-history-list/ - Infinitesimals vs. indivisibles (21 Sept. 1998, responded to on 10 Feb. 1999) http://mathforum.org/epigone/math-history-list/gulmehfe/ "Victor Katz has referred to the distinction between 'infinitesimals' and 'indivisibles'... is there a mathematical (as opposed to a purely philosophical) distinction here? In other words, is there a mathematical theory of 'infinitesimals' and one of 'indivisibles'; and do these two types of mathematical objects have different properties?" - Stacy Langton Discussing whether there is more than a verbal distinction between the two, ranging from Kepler to modern systems of analysis. ______________________________ + ______________________________ MATH-TEACH, a list established to facilitate the discussion of teaching mathematics, including conversations about the NCTM standards (although not officially sponsored by or affiliated with the NCTM); open to subscription, unmoderated, and archived by the Math Forum at: http://mathforum.org/epigone/math-teach/ - Real-life applications (12 Feb. 1999) http://mathforum.org/epigone/math-teach/flehflelnoi/ "I am interested in finding real-life applications of polynomials (adding, multiplying, dividing, etc.) Students are always asking 'when am I ever going to use this?' Thanks for your input!" - Cathy Wilkerson Some suggestions and ideas are offered, including a URL for "Seven Applications of Polynomials"; ideas on savings accounts and compound interest; and a debate whether mathematical models are ever "real-enough-life" applications. ______________________________ + ______________________________ NUMERACY, for those interested in the discussion of educational issues around adult mathematical literacy, archived at: http://mathforum.org/epigone/numeracy/ - Facilitating Lifelong Learning (1 Feb. 1999) http://mathforum.org/epigone/numeracy/gerolyu/ "Our Dutch adult education system has been changing in the frame of 'Lifelong Learning' to a system of more independent, 'teacher-free', cooperative learning, more short courses per year, more distance learning and use of technology through computer-based programs, Internet, etc., certification on different levels, continuous intake and more possibilities to start whenever people want to start a course, to work in people's own time and pace and to finish when people are ready to finish their course..." - Mieke van Groenestijn Is the idea of lifelong learning impractical in math because certain basics must be understood before moving on? ______________________________ + ______________________________ We hope you will find these selections useful, and that you will browse and participate in the discussion group(s) of your choice. CHECK OUT OUR WEB SITE: The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/ Ask Dr. Math http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ Problems of the Week http://mathforum.org/pow/ Internet Resources http://mathforum.org/~steve/ Teacher2Teacher http://mathforum.org/t2t/ Discussion Groups http://mathforum.org/discussions/ Join the Math Forum http://mathforum.org/join.forum.html Send comments to the Math Forum Internet Newsletter editors |

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