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Topic: Re: starting from counting
Replies: 8   Last Post: Nov 1, 1995 9:40 AM

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Posts: 243
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: starting from counting
Posted: Oct 30, 1995 2:15 PM
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Anne Bartel writes:
>I have a mentor/friend, John Marshall, who has worked closely with Sir Wilfred
>Cockcroft in England on the Maths for Schools elementary curriculum. His
>strongly worded message to me over the years is that this is the very issue on
>which we in the states "mess up" our early instruction. He would argue that
>counting is NOT the first step. He believes (and the English curriculum
>supports) that children need to develop an understanding of "2" and "4" by
>setting up sets in 1-1 correspondence,

Oh gosh, this worries me. This reminds me of the New Math and its infusion
of set-theoretic notions into the primary curriculum. I am myself a set
theorist, and know very well that the notion that "set" and "1-1
correspondence" lie at the heart of mathematics came very very late into
the culture, within the last 125 years.

How we think things logically proceed and how the human brain constructs
things are, as we know, quite different.

Those who have research how young children think about number -- how do
they construct it? I remember at some point "2" meant to my toddler son
and his friends "more than 1;" at some point it got differentiated from
"3". To me, this was pure magic.
Judy Roitman, Math, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66049, 913-864-4630

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