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Topic: "dot notation" on a math track?
Replies: 10   Last Post: Jan 12, 2010 5:24 PM

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kirby urner

Posts: 2,007
Registered: 11/29/05
"dot notation" on a math track?
Posted: Jan 6, 2010 7:11 PM
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Now that we've all agreed that hexadecimals need to feature in lesson
plans, if only to explain about ASCII, lets move on to a more
controversial topic:  dot notation.

I'm guessing practically all math teachers are suspicious of such
alien notation as dog.bark() or dog.eat('biscuit'), where a noun is
associated with its behaviors in a noun.verb(argument) pattern.  Nouns
(things) may also have static attributes or properties, which may be
thought of as adjectives, e.g. dog.color or dog.weight.

http://www.ling.helsinki.fi/kit/2009s/clt230/RUR-PLE/html/en/inter/30-dot.htm
http://worldgame.blogspot.com/2005/06/dot-notation.html
http://mail.python.org/pipermail/edu-sig/2006-January/005673.html

We might get away with teaching some of this in grammar class, should
grammar be offered at all in school X.  By introducing a logical
grammar, used daily by computer programmers around the world, one gets
exposure to logic more generally.  No older notation need be
displaced.  Dot notation is fairly universal and is used as a part of
machine-executable logical languages.

For this reason alone, I advocate adding lesson plans regarding dot
notation.  If you don't have a computer, or electricity to feed one,
that shouldn't stop you from partaking of the notation.

Again, if this all seems to alien, remember I sometimes write
curriculum for a digital math track, beginning with some 3rd year high
school math course, not anything at the primary level.  However, with
this turf established, it becomes easier to work forward and backward,
looking for points of contact with the pre-existing curriculum.  In
any case, I'm supposed to pick topics relating to computer science and
to what we've historically known as discrete math.

Lore about our various computer revolutions, breakthroughs in
technology -- also part of the patter.

Note to Robert:  you liked that Pythonic math text I cited, the
'Mathematics for the Digital Age' book **.  Just found out that it's
been re-released in updated form, this time with code in Python 3.x
instead of 2.x.  That's a major advance and I have an evaluation copy
to start checking.  I do tend to advise a 3.x flavor of Python, if
just starting, with a few sidebars regarding the differences.

OK, that was pretty painless.  Hexadecimals, dot notation... what
could be next?  I was thinking Regular Expressions why not?  Small
puzzles, fun applications, immediate relevance in such free tools as
Google App Engine, where regular expressions serve on the front lines
to switch incoming URL requests to their appropriate tracks.

We also want to do more statistics with our computer programs, like at
least compute averages (at least to begin with).  Lets save some room
(this course is something of a sampler, until we can spread our wings
more).

Kirby

** http://www.skylit.com/mathandpython.html

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