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Topic: New about real-world problems
Replies: 4   Last Post: Oct 29, 1995 6:17 PM

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Andre TOOM

Posts: 549
Registered: 12/3/04
New about real-world problems
Posted: Oct 27, 1995 8:19 PM
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`Journal for Research in Math Education'.
Jack Price's article `President's Report:
Selling and Buying Reform: If we build it, will they come ?'
``We already have consensus from the major mathematics organizations
and have mounted extraordinary efforts to help teachers understand
and use the standards.<...> it is only the beginning if we wish to
sustain the efforts necessary to realize our vision.''

A few days ago some members of this list (who usually do not
participate in the exchange of opinions) claimed `for the record'
that President Price does not insist on implementation of the

``Many people, both inside and outside the mathematics community,
have made some strong, but uninformed, accusations about the
standards <...> At best, these statements are misinformed;
at worst, they are mean-spirited or self-serving.''

So, there has been NO valid criticism of the `standards'.

``Second, some problems do have one right answer arrived
at through one specific method. But in real life, far more
problems are encountered that may have two or more right
answers or may have one right answer but permit multiple
solution methods. Remember George Polya's four-step method
of solving problems; the last step is ``look back''.''

Problems with two or more right answers certainly exist,
for example, many quadratic equations. What is so
exciting about it ?
And what does Polya do here ? Did he ever classify
mathematical problems into `real-life' and
`non-real-life' ones ?

Problems which can be solved in two different ways
certainly exist and are useful. Collections of
olympiad-style problems contain good examples.
But in the Standards such problems are rare.
Can somebody find a problem, which is solved in two
different ways in the `Standards', so that we could
enjoy and discuss it ?

Andrei Toom

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