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Topic: How would YOU simplify arithmetic?
Replies: 41   Last Post: Jul 11, 2012 12:56 AM

 Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
 Clyde Greeno @ MALEI Posts: 220 Registered: 9/13/10
Re: How would YOU simplify arithmetic?
Posted: Jun 29, 2012 1:23 PM

> I still don't understand - you want to simplify arithmetic *itself*, not
> the *teaching* of it?

Two very different things.

1) The arithmetics that are currently taught K-IntroAlg are mathematical
theories for calculating with numerals ... which represent various kinds of
number systems. [Not to be confused with number-theory]. Shifting from
base-ten numerals to base-8 numerals not only changes the
numerals-vocabulary, it also changes the calculations-theorems ... and so
changes the arithmetic theory. The change from Arabic-numerals arithmetic to
the commonplace arithmetics for fractions "confuses 5 kids out of every 4".
The change to decimal-point numerals also changes the arithmetic theory.

The Crabtree question is of how to change the mathematical theory of
arithmetic (as currently taught in schools) ... perhaps by also changing the
numerals-vocabulary, but perhaps by using the same vocabulary. [Example: the
might be replaced by an add-from-the-left theorem ... not just changing the
pedagogy, but changing the mathematical content of the calculations-theory
taught to the child.] Of course, changing a mathematical theory of
numerals-calculations manifests also as changes in WHAT is taught ... but
perhaps not in HOW it is taught.

2) The pedagogy of numerals-calculations arithmetic can be changed without
changing the underlying mathematical theory. [Example: telling students how
to calculate ... Vs ... guiding them to discover that [such and such] will
always work.]

Simplifying the pedagogy might be disastrous. Simplifying the mathematical
theory of arithmetic [say, changing everything to binary-numerals] might be
equally unwise. But the two kinds of "simplify" are quite different ... and
they require very different kinds of instructological research.

Cordially,
Clyde

- --------------------------------------------------
From: "Joe Niederberger" <niederberger@comcast.net>
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2012 11:01 AM
To: <math-teach@mathforum.org>
Subject: Re: How would YOU simplify arithmetic?

> I still don't understand - you want to simplify arithmetic *itself*, not
> the *teaching* of it?
>
> (I'm with R.H. here - it is what it is - you can't simplify it by decree.
> I disagree with R.H when he says that it *is* simple already - so why are
> there still number theorists?)
>
> That's why I asked how do you define simplicity.
>
> Joe N