Math Forum Internet News

Volume 4, Number 8A  -  February 1999 Discussions

Back to Table of Contents

25 February 1999                                 Vol. 4, No. 8A


  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.

______________________________ + ______________________________

                     FEBRUARY SUGGESTIONS:  

AMTE - the mailing list of the Association of Mathematics 
Teacher Educators, archived by the Math Forum at:
- My personal list of mysterious difficulties in teaching 
  Math 101 (18 Jan. 1999)

 "... 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:

- Infinitesimals vs. indivisibles (21 Sept. 1998, responded
  to on 10 Feb. 1999)

 "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 
______________________________ + ______________________________

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:
- Real-life applications (12 Feb. 1999)
 "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:

- Facilitating Lifelong Learning (1 Feb. 1999)

 "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
        Ask Dr. Math
Problems of the Week
  Internet Resources
   Discussion Groups
 Join the Math Forum

    Send comments to  the Math Forum Internet Newsletter editors

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

Home || The Math Library || Quick Reference || Search || Help 

© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.
Sarah Seastone, Editor