Tag Archives: math education

Learning Mathematics

In one of our periodic FaceTime calls I found out that my granddaughter in 6th grade was interested in learning algebra and had gotten a book to help her out.  Clearly this initiative to get a head start prior to the normal course curriculum excited me, so I wrote what I thought was an insightful essay on the meaning and purpose of algebra.  Needless to say it was an abysmal failure.

That got me to thinking deeply about what it meant to learn mathematics and in particular symbolic algebra.

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The Lure of Mathematics Conundrum

A prevalent theme of much of popular mathematical exposition and debates about mathematics education concerns how to interest a wider population in matters mathematical.  For the most part I feel that essays that try to present the “beauty” of mathematics are doomed to failure, as are most discussions of esthetics.  The underlying goal of such writing is a legitimate and laudable attempt to show the appeal of math.  But I fear it succeeds only with those already converted.  So is there another way?

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