Date: Sep 15, 2011 6:33 PM
Author: Alain Schremmer
Subject: Re: Dolciani and SMSG


On Sep 15, 2011, at 5:22 PM, Adam Stinchcombe wrote:

> I was wondering what was formal and what was abstract with the
> Dolciani series. I studied Algebra III and Trig with such a book
> and didn't find it (a) abstract, (b) formal, (c) torture, nor (d)
> new math. I did get some "new math" in grade school, functions,
> relations, correspondences, stuff like that, and didn't retain much
> of it back then.


(1) We came to this country in 1965. Our children, 7 and 5 1/2, went
to second and first grade respectively and we weren't checking much
on what they were doing in school (we never would). However, dinner
was a time of conversation / discussion / argument. One evening, the
younger one announced that they had been doing set theory. So, of
course, we asked what that was. His answer was that we wouldn't
understand. (He knew of course that we were both mathematicians.) We
persisted a bit and he said that it was about intersection and union.
So, I made a set with plates and glasses and another set with plates
and silver and asked him what the intersection of these two sets
might be. He looked at me somewhat contemptuously and said something
along the lines of "the intersection of 2, 3, 4, 5 and 4, 5, 6 is 4,
5" and that was that(*).

(2) A couple of years later, I witnessed the transformation of
College Algebra into Precalculus and all that was---the book was
Munem and Yizze and it seems that they were still around a few years
ago and that both versions have faithful followers---was a thin coat
of function talk. In fact, a few years later, the College Algebra
became available again and they have happily coexisted ever since.

Regards
--schremmer

(*) At that time, I was watching third graders, lowest track, play
with Dienes blocks, both attribute and multi-base arithmetic, and
THAT was fascinating.

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