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Replies: 12   Last Post: Feb 4, 1999 2:57 PM

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 John F Harper Posts: 214 Registered: 12/3/04
Posted: Feb 4, 1999 2:57 PM

In article <7979bq\$amn\$1@nnrp1.dejanews.com>, <oholden@idirect.com> wrote:
>In article <36B5BCE1.4295@mail.delcoelect.com>,
> bsplatt@mail.delcoelect.com wrote:

>> My daughter had a series of questions on her 5th grade math assignments
>> such as "how many 5/8's in 1". She was taught by the teacher to muliply
>> a fraction by it inverse to make it equal to "1". Thus the answer to
>> the question above is "there are 8/5's 5/8's in 1", which seems to me to
>> be correct. However, a student's parent who happens to be a math
>> teacher at another school threw a fit, insisting that there is "1" 5/8th
>> in 1. He roused such a rucus that the teacher now has the students skip
>> these types of questions.

How sad. Different definitions of the same technical term occasionally
appear in mathematics at all levels ("continuous function" is a case in
point, where I can produce 5 irreconcilable definitions in 5 books on
analysis, even for functions R->R), and then the only thing to do is
make the definitions clear and explain why you prefer one of them to the
others. I suppose a common 5th grade analogue is encountering an unusual
situation while playing a game and arguing about what the rules say.

John Harper, School of Mathematical and Computing Sciences,
Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand
e-mail john.harper@vuw.ac.nz phone (+64)(4)471 5341 fax (+64)(4)495 5045

Date Subject Author
2/1/99 S Platt
2/1/99 Marty Fouts
2/1/99 Andy
2/1/99 Marty Fouts
2/2/99 David Redmond
2/2/99 Marty Fouts
2/1/99 John Savard
2/2/99 oholden@idirect.com
2/2/99 Stephen L.
2/2/99 Christian Ohn
2/3/99 Stephen L.
2/4/99 John F Harper
2/4/99 Peter L. Montgomery