While I Was Distracted…

After a hectic couple of weeks, I finally found a little time to sit at the computer and browse — and boy, was I amazed to see what I had missed! If you have not yet read Dave‘s interview with Prof. Lynn Arthur Steen about the state of math education reform, click over and check it out: Part I here, and Part II here.

According to the intro, Prof. Steen “has been a driving force for the reform of school mathematics for many years and was on the development team that produced NCTM’s Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics. For the last few years, he has been involved in Achieve’s commitment to developing world-class mathematics standards for K-8 and ADP’s similar commitment to secondary mathematics.” He has some interesting things to say, although many of his statements are open to various interpretations, and at times he seems determined to provoke a hot-headed response. For instance:

Continue reading While I Was Distracted…

Reading to Learn Math

[Photo by Betsssssy.]

Do you ever take your kids’ math tests? It helps me remember what it is like to be a student. I push myself to work quickly, trying to finish in about 1/3 the allotted time, to mimic the pressure students feel. And whenever I do this, I find myself prone to the same stupid mistakes that students make.

Even teachers are human.

In this case, it was a multi-step word problem, a barrage of information to stumble through. In the middle of it all sat this statement:

…and there were 3/4 as many dragons as gryphons…

My eyes saw the words, but my mind heard it this way:

…and 3/4 of them were dragons…

What do you think — did I get the answer right? Of course not! Every little word in a math problem is important, and misreading even the smallest word can lead a student astray. My mental glitch encompassed several words, and my final tally of mythological creatures was correspondingly screwy.

But here is the more important question: Can you explain the difference between these two statements?

Continue reading Reading to Learn Math

Quotations XV: More Joy of Mathematics

Mathematics is a vast adventure; its history reflects some of the noblest thoughts of countless generations.

Dirk J. Struik
A Concise History of Mathematics

Mathematics is a world created by the mind of men, and mathematicians are people who devote their lives to what seems to me a wonderful kind of play!

Constance Reid

Continue reading Quotations XV: More Joy of Mathematics

Number Bonds, Number Rainbows

Basic bar diagram

Many of us use the idea of number bonds with our young students. A number bond is a mental picture of the relationship between a number and the parts that combine to make it.

Now we have a new, colorful way to show these relationships, thanks to Maria at Homeschool Math Blog. If you teach math to young children, check this out:

Continue reading Number Bonds, Number Rainbows

Looking Ahead with Alexandria Jones

We have now finished three back issues of my old Mathematical Adventures newsletter. Our next story will be from the November/December 1998 issue: Alexandria Jones and the Christmas Present Quandary. I plan to take a couple of months off to find my rhythm with co-op and homeschooling classes, and we will pick up Alex’s adventures (and meet her mother, Maria Jones) in November.

In case you missed any of them, here are all the Alexandria Jones stories so far…

Continue reading Looking Ahead with Alexandria Jones

Bloglines Potluck “Carnival”

Blog carnival graphic 2

One last, long weekend before we dive full-speed into school and co-op classes and swim lessons and karate and art lessons and…well, this may be my last chance to catch up on the backlog in my Bloglines folders.

With over 100 feeds, there is no way I will keep up with all of you during the school year. So here is my end-of-summer fling, a sort of unofficial “Best of (my) Bloglines” carnival, in which I share my personal favorites from the last few weeks of RSS.

I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I have.

Continue reading Bloglines Potluck “Carnival”