> It is true that only schematics versions of 'life problems' > lead to general mathematical theory. > However: > (a) the students bring 'life' into the classroom with them.
Oh, yes, of course. Our job is to teach them to schematize it.
> (b) the process of moving from life to the APPROPRIATE' schematic > is part of mathematics (applied mathematics). > > Isn't there room for some movement in the class which involves some 'life' > (open-ended messy problems of potential complexity) and the theory? > Even when I think I have already done this - I have been struck by > what happens when students ('good students') try to work back from > the theory to a real, physical example. The experience reveals > a lot of misunderstanding. The learning which happens then seems > essential to a well-rounded course of mathematics. > > Walter Whiteley > York University