CTK Insights

Archive for the 'math education' Category

17 Feb

Beating a Dead Horse: Mathematics Education Reform - Again

Marcus du Sautoy: During my year as President of The Mathematical Association the government began a review of the curriculum across all subjects taught in school. Given the constant tinkering with the education system by every government, this is probably a sentence that any MA president could write during their tenure

10 Aug

(Mathematical) Excursions into World's Great Buildings

The book is lavishly illustrated - both its architectural and mathematical strands come pretty much alive in the abundance of drawings and diagrams. From this perspective, the book must be very suitable for an advanced Liberal Arts mathematics course; however the aesthetic focus of the book makes it a cultural phenomenon. I would suggest consulting the book before a trip to Europe, Middle East, or Australia. Details and depth of coverage brought to you by Alexander Hahn are in line to complement more common travel guides.

18 Jun

The Euclid Debate from 1869

TweetI am reading Lewis Carroll in Numberland by Robin Wilson that I reported buying earlier. The book is an extended professional - so to speak - biography of Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll. Here's a passage from the book (pp 89-90) that adds another pair of quotes to the two I posted not […]

08 Jun

Serendipity and Luck

Although the role of serendipity is familiar, what's not so well appreciated is how different serendipity is from luck. Serendipity is not just an apparent aptitude for making fortunate discoveries accidentally, as my dictionary defines it. Serendipitous discoveries are always made by people in a particular frame of mind, people who are focused and alert because they're searching for something. They just happen to find something else.

11 May

A Hundred Years War

TweetNCTM began publishing its Yearbooks in 1926. The very first one has been reprinted in 1955 and until a few years back was available at the NCTM store. My yesterday's search at the NCTM site for "First Yearbook" brought up only one item: Johnny W. Lott's (NCTM President 2002-2004) article A Static Mathematics Curriculum Is […]

10 May

Escher the Mathematician

TweetThis is a well known fact that M. C. Escher - the Dutch artist whose graphic work achieved recognition towards the end of the 20th century, especially among mathematicians - consistently denied his ability to understand or do mathematics. His son George has observed that Father had difficulty comprehending that the working of his mind […]

22 Apr

D. E. Smith's Quotes

TweetDavid Eugene Smith was a well-known author, math historian and educator and a past president of the Mathematical Association of America. His 1913 address to the New England Association of Teachers of Mathematics raises and attempts to answer questions that are relevant to math education today as they were then. Below I gathered several quotes […]

17 Apr

An Anti-cultural Aspect of Consructivism

TweetThe basic tenet of constructivism - a trend in the theory of education and pedagogical practice - is that children learn by actively constructing their own knowledge as opposed to being seen as empty vessels to be filled with pre-existent information. There are of course legitimate doubts whether every child is capable of rediscovering all […]

19 Mar

Why Algebra?

TweetI often wondered why in the last decades educational reformers put so much emphasis on studying algebra. Until about 200 years ago studying geometry was the surest way on the road to mastering logical thinking. Personally, I do not believe the latter and doubt that emphasis on algebra will do any good to the current […]

07 Nov

Thought provokers to start a class with, II

TweetThis Is Just Plain Counting I and many others think it's a good idea to start a math class with a simple non-traditional problem to get the students into the right mood for the class. My main source for the problems below is a Russian booklet by E. G. Kozlova intended for early and middle […]

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