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Topic: SMSG (School Mathematics Study Group)
Replies: 2   Last Post: Feb 26, 2011 7:21 PM

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Sarah Seastone

Posts: 1,240
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: SMSG (School Mathematics Study Group)
Posted: Sep 25, 1998 9:45 AM
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>I am looking for information on this subject, and I would appreciate
>any reply.

The SMSG project of the 1960s was the secondary education version of the
New Math.
"Jerome S. Bruner (1915- ) taught at Harvard and the New School for
Social Research, with his best known works being The Process of
Education (1960), Toward a Theory of Instruction (1966), and Acts of
Meaning (1990). The 1960 book set the stage for what came to be
referred to as the "structure of the disciplines movement" that was
America's educational response to the space success of the Soviet
Union, who, on October 4th, 1957, placed the satellite, Sputnik, in
Earth orbit and thus began the space age.

The reaction of the United States Congress was to pass the National
Defense Education Act (NDEA) of 1978, which spent millions on
mathematics and science education. Using this funding source and
Bruner's writings professors in mathematics and the sciences rewrote
the high school curriculum. This gave birth to "modern mathematics,"
the most famous version of which came from Yale and was know as
SMSG mathematics (School Mathematics Study Group). Others that
were developed included PSSC physics, BSCS biology, and CHEM
chemistry. ..."
"... What first attracted me to mathematics was the
fact that I was aware from a fairly early age that I could do it.
In the 8th grade in Louisiana in 1961-1962, our school tried an
experimental curriculum (I think it was the SMSG [School
Mathematics Study Group, also known as "New Math"]--I
remember yellow paperbacks), and it was a colossal failure. Of
the whole class, only two kids (me and one other) had any idea
what was going on. After a month, we went back to the more
traditional stuff, but my teachers and I were aware that I could
do interesting mathematics..."
"... I entered mathematics because of a positive
experience in mathematics at the junior high school level. I had the
pleasure of having a teacher who believed in and successfully used
the SMSG [School Mathematics Study Group] mathematics

For more information, try using Altavista (
to search for

SMSG "School Mathematics Study Group"

- and start browsing. Of course you could also search for "New Math" :-) .

Questions like this would be better asked on a newsgroup other than
geometry-research - for instance math-teach or k12.ed.math. For the Math
Forum's list of math discussion groups and information about topics they
cover, see

- Sarah

Sarah Seastone
Editor, Archivist, Web Page Designer
The Math Forum

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