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Topic: Chapter 3--Everybody Counts
Replies: 11   Last Post: Mar 18, 1995 1:02 AM

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Eileen Abrahamson

Posts: 85
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Chapter 3--Everybody Counts
Posted: Mar 18, 1995 1:02 AM
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>[snipped in several places]
>1. What really is "mathematical power" and how do your students get it?
> [The definition given in this reform document differs markedly from
> those given in the various Standards documents, in my opinion]

I believe that "mathematical power" is the power to use mathematical
language to articulate relationships, patterns, etc. that one observes in
their dealing with the environment. For example: My son (now 18yrs. old)
playes a game called Mancala, I'm sure many of you know it. He is
unbeatable! All of our family members, electrical engineers included, have
made it their mission to beat him at this game and cannot. It does not
matter whether he begins the game or plays second. It does not matter the
number of stones that the players begin with. When questioned about what
he does (thinks) as he plays he cannot articulate what he is thinking. If
he had "mathematical power" he would be able provide the mathematical
explaination as to what he is thinking when he plays. Since he has taken
mathematics up through pre-calc. It is particularly discouraging to find
that with all that math he cannot use the language to articulate his
thinking. I see his math knowledge to be as useless as his knowledge of
spanish. He has memorized "dialogues" and does not have the power to
generate "sentences" of his own. In otherwords he has never been taken to
the application/synthesis level in math.

People with "math power" can create their own "sentences" about the world
and its relationships.

>3. Comment on the statement: "As computers become more powerful, the
> need for mathematics will decline."

I would rather say, as computers become more powerful the need for
arithmetic will decline, the need for mathematics will increase.

>4. Why is it that mathematics education in the United States resists
> change in spite of the many forces that are revolutionizing the nature
> and role of mathematics itself?

Our reliance on "sub standard" standardized tests!

>5. Why do you suppose that 50% of school teachers leave the profession
> every seven years?

Cut backs in funding are eliminating 2.5 million from our school district
budget for next year. 90% of these cuts will be staff.

Eileen Abrahamson
Edw. Neill Elemetary
13409 Upton Ave. So.
Burnsville, MN 55337

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