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Topic: What are the "basic" facts?
Replies: 20   Last Post: Jul 6, 1995 8:34 PM

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Posts: 90
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: What are the "basic" facts?
Posted: Jul 2, 1995 11:00 AM
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In a message dated 95-07-01 02:16:27 EDT, (Norm Krumpe)

>Once again, I want to stress that IMHO, yes, knowing the "times tables" can
>be helpful, but there are concepts more basic than these which should be
>understood before learning the times tables.
>Norm Krumpe
>Indiana University of Pennsylvania
>Indiana University at Bloomington

Let me digress a little with an analogy. Last night I went to play banjo with
some friends. I"m not particularily good and always out of practice. When I
want to learn a song, I need to have an overall idea of what the song will
sound like. In addition, my left hand must know where to go on the neck to
find the notes while the right hand must know which strings to pluck. For all
of this to happen requires practice and the overall concepts. If I don't do
some practice, I will hear the song in my head, but I won't be able to play
it - I won't be able to communicate the song to other people. If I practice
exercises night and day but don't have a song in my head, no one will want to
listen to my endless rolls.

Learning math is much the same. Students must have some concepts in their
heads and practice at the basic skills. I think time must be spent developing
basic understanding and practicing skills in an integrated manner. To teach
one without the other is to do the students a great disservice.

As a secondary teacher, I find it quite frustrating when students believe
that calculators are essential when doing basic arithmetic. Part of learning
to understand math is the ability to manipulate the numbers in their heads.
Since I learned arithmetic before the time of the calculator, I developed an
understanding of the basic algebraic properties before I was told their names
because they made it easier to do the arithmetic in my head


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