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Topic: straw persons
Replies: 1   Last Post: Mar 21, 1994 9:47 PM

 Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
 Bob Hayden Posts: 2,384 Registered: 12/6/04
straw persons
Posted: Mar 21, 1994 8:19 AM

Well, we certainly have a lively, energetic, and committed crew out on
the Geometry Forum! Possibly a little trigger happy though ... I
think folks have assumed the worst in response to queries from me and
Bill Berlinghoff about defining "angle". We are NOT taking an
axiomatic approach to geometry nor are we contemplating most of the
other crimes suggested. In trying to defend ourselves, I think we've
come out looking much more conservative than we are. We just wanted
to know how people are approaching the idea of angle.

Maybe a non-geometric example would be less incendiary. In our ninth
grade materials we define "mean absolute deviation" as the mean of the
absolute value of the deviations from the mean. (Our treatment there
is not so curt.) Now I have seen people argue that the thing to look
at is the deviations from the MEDIAN, or that we should look at the
median of the deviations. Now whatever the pros and cons of these
positions might be, and however we might present the material to
students, I think we need to be clear in our own mind what the
different definitions are and be consistent in our own usage so that
we do not have MAD meaning different things on different pages. Also,
if we have not considered various alternative definitions, or even
conceived of their existence, we can't initiate a very intelligent
dialog with students on these alternatives. Finally, if one of the
definitions is overwhelmingly accepted as "correct', and the others
are considered misunderstandings or errors, then we should know that
too.

--

_
| | Robert W. Hayden
| | Department of Mathematics
/ | Plymouth State College
| | Plymouth, New Hampshire 03264 USA
| * |
/ | (603) 968-9914
| ) (603) 535-2489
L_____/ hayden@oz.plymouth.edu

Date Subject Author
3/21/94 Bob Hayden
3/21/94 Henri Picciotto