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Topic: Follow-up--Chapter 4--Everybody Counts
Replies: 0

 Ronald A Ward Posts: 298 Registered: 12/4/04
Follow-up--Chapter 4--Everybody Counts
Posted: Mar 25, 1995 6:48 PM

Most of the discussion on Chapter 4 seemed to center around the goals for
elementary and secondary school mathematics. So, here is the view
expressed in Everybody Counts. See how it compares with your own:

Elementary School: "ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IS WHERE MOST CHILDREN LEARN THE
MATHEMATICAL SKILLS NEEDED FOR DAILY LIFE. Formerly, shopkeeper
arithmetic was an adequate objective since, for most people, mathematics
in daily life required little more than arithmetic. This is no longer
true. Calculators now do most of the arithmetic needed for daily life,
while a technologically dominated society requires that everyone have a
good grasp of chance, of reasoning, of form, and of pattern. WHILE THE
GOAL OF ELEMENTARY EDUCATION HAS NOT CHANGED, THE MATHEMATICAL OBJECTIVES
APPROPRIATE TO THIS GOAL ARE VERY DIFFERENT NOW FROM WHAT THEY WERE HALF
A CENTURY AGO. THE MAJOR OBJECTIVE OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL MATHEMATICS
SHOULD BE TO DEVELOP NUMBER SENSE." [Caps are mine. The reader might be
interested to go on and see the author's explication of this
objective]

Secondary School: "Secondary education is where students begin to learn
the mathematics they will need for careers as well as the mathematics
required for effective citizenship. Whereas, traditionally, secondary
school has been characterized by the introduction of algebra as an
extension of arithmetic, contemporary society requires much greater
breadth from secondary school mathematics. THE FOCUS OF THE SECONDARY
SCHOOL CURRICULUM REMAINS--AS IT SHOULD--ON THE TRANSITION FROM CONCRETE
TO CONCEPTUAL MATHEMATICS. As students' understanding moves from numbers
to variables, from description to proof, from special cases to general
equations, they learn the power of mathematical symbols. In a very real
sense, THE MAJOR OBJECTIVE OF SECONDARY SCHOOL MATHEMATICS IS TO DEVELOP
SYMBOL SENSE." [Again, caps are mine]

mathematics, there is a fairly lengthy section on that topic. Among
other things the author concludes: "IF IT DOES NOTHING ELSE,
UNDERGRADUATE MATHEMATICS SHOULD HELP STUDENTS DEVELOP FUNCTION SENSE--A
FAMILIARITY WITH EXPRESSING RELATIONS AMONG VARIABLES."

Thus, what we have are: 1. Number sense,
2. Symbol sense, and
3. Function sense

I will post Chapter Five questions on Monday.

Rob Ward/Western Washington U/Bellingham, WA 98225
ronaward@henson.cc.wwu.edu