Why Does Back-to-School Imply Back to Math?
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|Keith Devlin (Devlin's Angle)|
|...in a world where everyone can afford a pocket calculator and a great many people seem to be successful in life with little or no mathematical ability or knowledge of science, why do we place so much emphasis on math and science? Whatever the answer, it's an emphasis with a long history. The desirability for all citizens to have an appreciation of mathematics and an understanding of the nature of the world they live in was first expressed over two thousand years ago by Plato in The Republic... A justification for mandatory math and science may be found in Dewey's phrase "scientific habits of the mind." For the vast majority of pupils, it's not so much the subject matter of math and science that is important as the mode of thinking that is involved: the need to collect and weigh evidence, the need to base decisions on that evidence, the ability to think logically, and a willingness to change one's opinion on the basis of new evidence.|
|Levels:||High School (9-12), College, Research|
|Math Topics:||History and Biography, Logic/Foundations|
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