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Re: where's the math? so? (was Re: 5th Grade Activity)
Posted:
Apr 19, 1995 11:17 PM


On Wed, 19 Apr 1995, Ted Alper wrote:
> While I certainly agree that the standard curriculum should not be > considered unalterable  and that technological changes and needs > should influence what and how one teaches  I wonder what is meant by > "all the new math that has evolved since world war II" in this > context. Information theory? The method of forcing? The new methods > for doing linear optimization problems? Please explain how any of > these things effects 10th graders, let alone 5th or second graders, or > how it might influence what they should be doing in class. > > (The NCTM standards book has that standard bit of boilerplate around > pages 7 or 8 of the introduction  more than half of all mathematics > having been invented since WWII  but what does that MEAN? Are we > counting pages of journal articles? Number of theorems? Are we > allowing for redundancy? Most of this math builds on the same > foundations that classical mathematics does. The vast amount is > specialized knowledge  generally requiring fairly advanced training > to be intelligible and even then only digested by a few who feel a > need to explore it. A classical secondary mathematics education (as a > start) is hardly a disadvantage in approaching the modern mathematical > literature.)
I think that at least one point here is that mathematics is an open enterprise, constantly evolving, never to be completed. While that may be a commonplace in the mathematics community, it's hardly well known to the general public. Few of us are taught that mathematics is a growing body of knowledge that represents human ingenuity and inventiveness. Until I met graduate students in mathematics during my college years, I didn't know there WAS any mathematics past calculus.
michael paul goldenberg/University of Michigan
> > > For that matter, discrete math  regardless of what specific topics > one puts under the label  doesn't REPLACE the traditional curriculum. > Discrete math builds upon algebra and geometry fairly extensively. > > Ted Alper > alper@epgy.stanford.edu > > > > > > >



