Ted Alper <alper@Ockham.Stanford.EDU> writes: >Why is it important to teach that mathematics is a growing body of >knowledge? I mean, it's certainly true, and it is better to >be aware of the wide world than not -- but how much attention should be >paid to this in an 8th grade math class? <etc.>
This is not just a "fact" to be conveyed to students. It is a mindset, a way of looking at the study of mathematics. Mathematics is not something dead people who lived years ago did. Mathematics is a continuing creative enterprise of developing knowledge done by people who are LIVING. Mathematicians do this for a living; we share in that enterprise as we make sense of the mathematics we are studying, no matter what level that may be. Too often students see mathematics as a body of knowledge to be assimilated (a product). To me, seeing mathematics as an exciting and worthwhile activity (a process) is at the very heart of the Standards.
============================================================ W. Gary Martin 1776 University Ave. University of Hawaii Honolulu, HI 96822 Curriculum R & D Group (808)956-9956; FAX (808)956-4984