The Math Forum

Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Math Forum » Discussions » Policy and News » Math Forum Internet News

Notice: We are no longer accepting new posts, but the forums will continue to be readable.

Topic: Newsletter: Math Forum Internet News No. 2.20 (May 19)
Replies: 0  

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List  
Sarah Seastone

Posts: 1,240
Registered: 12/3/04
Newsletter: Math Forum Internet News No. 2.20 (May 19)
Posted: May 18, 1997 11:04 AM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

19 May 1997 Vol.2, No.20


Dictionary of Computing | Research in MathEd | Variable Phobia


A searchable dictionary with over 10,000 definitions for:

- acronyms, jargon, programming languages, tools
- architectures, operating systems, networking, theory
- telecoms, institutions, companies, projects, products
- history, cross-references, bibliography...

and a cross section of MATHEMATICS TOPICS, from abscissa and
Boolean algebra to wavelet and Zermelo set theory.

The Dictionary of Computing aims to provide a one-stop
source of information about all computing terms. It includes
cross-references to other entries and to related resources
elsewhere on the Internet, and bibliographical references to
paper publications. It currently lacks many entries that can
be found in paper computing dictionaries but contains
encyclopedia-like entries on subjects such as current
hardware and software products, companies, and institutions.
A Spanish version is also available.

With varying interfaces, the dictionary is mirrored by sites
in Turkey, France, Hungary, and the United States. Editor
Denis Howe invites users to submit appropriate definitions.



A compilation of materials from sessions of AMS/MAA Joint
Meetings, symposia, CRUME, and MAA Online; annotated
bibliographies; and publications from the Wisconsin Center
for Education Research, the Learning Research and
Development Center, and AERA Special Interest Groups.

A comprehensive list of Math Education Research Organizations
and Journals is also provided:


Research in Math Education is part of the Math Forum's
collection of resources for Mathematics Education:



Has anyone run into a case like the student I
have had who seems unable to do any math that
has unknowns or variables in it?
- Bonnie Fortini

This question sparked a focused discussion about how to
teach variables to students who hate letters, and what
might be some reasons for their difficulties. Here are
some excerpts:

"I think math phobia is related to the difficulty of
understanding language. Language is much more ambiguous..."

"As one who suffered from 'the phobia', language is not
the barrier! The 'barrier' is the mystery of numbers
clouded in memorized rules and procedures that have
no relevance to the student..."

"'s the context that gives sense to a formula...
Can we teach 'formulas' and 'variables' in the abstract?"

"As Marilyn Burns says, 'Algebra is the generalization of
arithmetic'... the essence of math education is that it
must lead to being able to solve math problems in
functional, realistic contexts."

"I think we are missing some key points. A variable is
not simply a letter standing for a number... the problem
is not likely to be 'cognitive' in the sense that there
are skills or processes missing... Often, a student with
moderate anxiety can be helped just by learning that most
people feel math anxiety - including teachers."

Many participants in this conversation shared classroom
experiences and ideas for using objects and 'real world'
concepts to help teach students about variables.

Find replies and a follow-up report on the discussion
thread by searching the numeracy list for "variable
phobia" (just the words, not the quotes):



The Math Forum
Ask Dr. Math
Problem of the Week
Internet Resources
Join the Math Forum


_o \o_ __| \ / |__ o _ o/ \o/
__|- __/ \__/o \o | o/ o/__/ /\ /| |
\ \ / \ / \ /o\ / \ / \ / | / \ / \

The Math Forum ** 19 May 1997

You will find this newsletter, a FAQ,
and subscription directions archived at

Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2018. All Rights Reserved.