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Discussion: Research Area
Topic: Why (numerical) algebra is arithmetic backward


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Subject:   Why (numerical) algebra is arithmetic backward
Author: Sonny
Date: May 26 2004
I have ONLINE a Website http://members.fortunecity.com/jonhays/algfront.com
showing that
(NUMERICAL) ALGEBRA IS ARITHMETIC BACKWARDS. Example: If you make 8 payments of
$75 each, that
accumulates to 8 x $75 = $600. Conversely, you may incur an obligation of $600
and wish to know
how much you must pay in eight equal payments. That is the (numerical) algebra
problem of
8X = $600, with solution X = $75. This understanding motivates students by
showing them that
they already know a method which, turned around solves another type of problem.
It also explains
that the "X" in (numerical) algebra is a set of numbers which conditionally
satisfy an equation.
In a file at this Website, I quote the Danish theologian and philosopher, Soren
Kierkegaard:
"Life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forward." And note
that algebraic
exercises can prepare one for non-mathematical procedures in life. In another
file at this
Website, I note the comment of Morris Kline in his "Mathematical Thought from
Ancient to Modern
Times", V. I, that the first people (Babylonian Priests) to develop predictive
science -- namely,
predicting phases of the moon, lunar and solar eclipses, etc. -- were the
first people to develop
(numerical) algebra. This material is also ONLINE in Spanish:
http://.../jonhays/algepagina.htm.

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