Date: Apr 20, 1995 12:54 PM
Author: W Gary Martin
Subject: Re: where's the math? so? (was Re: 5th Grade Activity)

Ted Alper <alper@Ockham.Stanford.EDU> writes:
>Why is it important to teach that mathematics is a growing body of
>knowledge? I mean, it's certainly true, and it is better to
>be aware of the wide world than not -- but how much attention should be
>paid to this in an 8th grade math class? <etc.>

This is not just a "fact" to be conveyed to students. It is a mindset, a
way of looking at the study of mathematics. Mathematics is not something
dead people who lived years ago did. Mathematics is a continuing creative
enterprise of developing knowledge done by people who are LIVING.
Mathematicians do this for a living; we share in that enterprise as we make
sense of the mathematics we are studying, no matter what level that may be.
Too often students see mathematics as a body of knowledge to be assimilated
(a product). To me, seeing mathematics as an exciting and worthwhile
activity (a process) is at the very heart of the Standards.


W. Gary Martin 1776 University Ave.
University of Hawaii Honolulu, HI 96822
Curriculum R & D Group (808)956-9956; FAX (808)956-4984