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Mathematics Teacher article
Posted:
Sep 27, 1995 5:27 PM


Was anyone else as appalled as I was at the article "Women in Consortium Calculus" in the October issue of "The Mathematics Teacher"? What can NCTM and the author be thinking? The three pictures accompaning the article depict women: 1. doing something with what looks like sliced peppers 2. doing something with apples 3. doing something with what looks like cookie dough. Are they doing something mathematical? Who can tell? Are we to take from this that somehow the Consortium Calculus book (HughesHallet Calculus  Wiley  which, in my opinion is an excellent text) religates women back to the kitchen? The author, Nancy C. Miller recommends this as a particularly good book for women for the fact, among others, that, instead of balls, problems deal with "grapefruit, a pomegranate or a tomato, objects equally familiar to both sexes". Pomegranates for pete's sake??? At my school (coed), this year's most powerful math students are women. They also play tennis, hockey, and lacrosse, sports in which, as far as I know, they don't use pomegranates (or grapefruit). They are comfortably familiar with balls, thank you very much! As for benefiting from seeing the practical utility of calculus, from a personal relationship with the instructor, from relating classroom experiences to the everyday world and from approaching the subject from a variety of viewpoints, sure, women do  and so do men  from my experience equally. Is author a mathematician? Is she recommending this particular text on the basis of her experience in teaching from it? Is there any pedigogical or mathematical integrity in her recomendation? I can't imagine anyone who has taught from this book (I have and have liked it a lot) writing such drivel.
Joan Reinthaler Sidwell Friends School



