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Discussion: Roundtable
Topic: Teaching Mathematics as a Science


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Subject:   RE: Teaching Mathematics as a Science
Author: tackweed
Date: Aug 18 2004
Now that this topic has calmed down a bit, it seems that the replies essentially
raised the main question for any study of math:

Who needs how much of What kind of math and Where and When should they get
it?

In this context math is a science (that deals with quantities, magnitudes, forms
and their relationships according to one dictionary) and a form of
communication. After all, if we did not need to communicate math, most of the
structure would be meaningless.

If math is to be this study of patterns and the way to communicate them,
predicating math programs based on the perceived needs and desires of students
could have serious consequences.  Students are no different then other people
when it comes time to work - we always try to follow the path of least
resistence. What needs to be remembered is that the popular student question
'When will I ever need this?' is not posited from a position of knowledge.  It
may be a coverup to the much more important question to the student: 'How will
your skills and talent benefit mankind?'

I have yet to find the situation where I had too much experience and too much
knowledge.  Knowledge, like experience is not always acquired in situations we
desire or understand. It's cumulative. The sooner you start, the more you
have.

--Jeff

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