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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 15,669
Registered: 12/3/04
Responses to earlier posts
Posted: Oct 3, 1998 9:09 PM
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Response 1: This is a response to the posting on "Psychologists/New
Programs - Boosting Math Scores"

I enjoy reading your comments on the net. You must spend a lot of time
replying to and helping people.

I am presently retired but keep active by preparing University of
Waterloo contest problems for potential I.M.O contestants. I have just
completed two books whose theme is "teaching with computers" - The
titles are: Conic Sections and Higher Plane Curves using Sketchpad or

The topic that you and others are addressing in the present e-mail
leaves me somewhat puzzled. Perhaps if educators realized that
mathematics is more than number for children then we might have more
success with the subject with youngsters. I did my dissertation at the
Ontario Institute for studies in Education. The topic was "Spatial
perception and Geometry". If one takes the approach that the real world
is a world of motion then transformation geometry can be used as the
approach to real world mathematics for children. Using "slides, flips
and turns" a program of meaningful geometry (motion geometry) can be
developed for children from Kindergarten to Grade 8. I spent 18 years in
a large educational jurisdiction as coordinator of mathematics and was
able to develop a sound program for elementary schools. I even convinced
Donald Coxeter that such an approach was meaningful for children. He
tried some of the materials used for "motion geometry" with his
grandchildren in Montreal after which he heartily endorsed the approach
we were using. - This from a world class geometer! We used the approach
in our text books for elementary schools. The program laid the ground
work for secondary school geometry. The idea of "motion geometry" in the
curriculum for elementary schools is gaining wide acceptance.

If you wish, the article in the 1987 NCTM yearbook on "Spatial
Perception and Primary Geometry" will give you an idea of some of my
work. The Addenda Series, K - 6, includes material on "Spatial Sense"
that addresses the approach, through some of the lessons, we use.

Children in the ghettos and inner city schools are the ones who gain the
most from motion geometry. They have a greater spatial sense than
children from more affluent homes and readily relate to a "Motion

I've had my say. I'd be glad to react to any questions you may have.

Keep up the good work.

John Del Grande
Newmarket, Ontario


Response 2: Following are a couple responses from Don Cohen to an earlier

(1) Jerry, you should tell your email and other lists of people, about the
translation of my book "Calculus By and For Young People (ages 7, yes 7 and
up)", published by Kodansha (18,000 in the first printing), arrived in
bookstores throughout Japan on August 20th. It is in their BLUE BACKS
series- science and mathematics for young people, which also had Martin
Gardner and W.W. Sawyer as authors.

Then, perhaps, more US educators would use the English versions of my
materials. I am getting many more homeschooling parents using my stuff now

(2) Jerry,

I think I told you Kodansha printed 18,000 copies of the Japanese
translation of my book "Calculus By and For Young People (ages 7, yes 7 and
up)". These went to many bookstores throughout Japan on Aug. 20. On Sept. 6,
I received an email from my publisher, part of which is below:

"And now I have good news to tell you. We are going to print additional
2,000 copies late this month. We can say that your method was accepted to
people as a kind of new text in which they could learn and understand math
much more than ever before.

Kazuhisa Sasaki
Science Books Division, Kodansha Ltd."

Jerry, how is the US ever going to catch up? We have to start important
mathematics early. How can you get people using my materials? Who is really
going to do that here?

By the way, people can buy all my materials at my website

(3) The following are the six items (3 books, a map and 2 videotapes) I have
produced, published, and sell:

1. "Calculus By and For Young People (ages 7, yes 7 and up)" by Don Cohen;
publisher Don Cohen- The Mathman; Rev. 1989; 179 pp; ISBN 09621674-1-X;
$13.95; for grades 1-12. (Reviewed in Scientific American, Dec. '88 + many

The Japanese translation of this book, ISBN 4062572249, published by
Kodansha (18,000
first printing), is now sold in bookstores throughout Japan. It is also
being sold in Kinokuniya bookstores in NY and LA by Sept.30.

2. "Calculus By and For Young People-Worksheets" by Don Cohen; publisher
Don Cohen- The Mathman; 1991; 324 pp; ISBN - 09621674-5-2; $22.95; for
grades 1-12.

3. Videotape #1: "Infinite Series By and For Young People ages 6 and up";
running time 24 min.; 1990; ISBN 09621674-2-8; Parallels Ch. 1; $42.95; for

4. Videotape#2: "Iteration to Infinite Sequences with 6 to 11 year-olds";
running time 38 min.; 1990; ISBN 09621674-4-4; Parallels Ch. 8; $42.95; for

5. "A Map to Calculus" by Don Cohen; publisher Don Cohen- The Mathman; a
15"x18" poster-flowchart, an overview with the chapter nos. and the VT's
annotated on the map; $7.95; for grades 1-12.

6. "Changing Shapes With Matrices" by Don Cohen; publisher Don Cohen- The
Mathman; 1994; 80pp; ISBN - 09621674-3-6; $9.95; for grades 1-12.

On the internet sells all my materials, as well as The MIT
Shop (except for the Map) + other places sell some of my things.

See these materials at my website, URL

Don Cohen --


Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618)453-4244
Phone: (618)453-4241 (office)

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