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Re: education, technology & chat (The Mathematics of it)

I was struck that in the entire discussion, there was no cultural historical analysis of the situation in which children do these mathematical things not because they are (considered) useful and its outcomes have any relevance to anything but to the reproduction of a society, where, as in the US, 15 to 20 percent of the population live in poverty, and where education is used to systematically exclude parts of the population to share in the wealth that is collectively produced. Students are supposedly taught in mathematics, but cannot analyze the myth in the growth equation of the market, and cannot analyze that every time you buy something at a bargain, or cheap, you actually take from someone else. Every time someone buys a pound of coffee in the supermarket at a good prize, a number of children in Nicaragua go hungry. Every time you sit down in your local Starbucks, you contribute to children somewhere else having to work rather than get an education because their parents work doesn't suffice to provide for the basic needs. That is, our educational system cannot get teach some of the basic mathematical principles, equations, and that you cannot have growth without resources.

On 10-Nov-04, at 9:52 PM, Peg Griffin wrote:

Thanks, again, Bill.
The links were useful.  I can see that teacher and child discussions could
develop quite elaborated apprehension of the attributes of the shapes and

I was curious about three things on the easel note.  Maybe the talk in the
class allowed the group to address the matters or to dance past them because
another part of the curriculum is going to highlight them.  Anyhow, the
first thing was the squares and rectangles in the list of quadrilaterals:
Does it come up that squares are rectangles, that the sort of things that
make a rectangle different from, say, a rhombus is of a different order than
the difference between squares and other rectangles?  The second thing was
about the "big, small" and "big, skinny":  Are those treated in the talk
more like, say, color (and not mathematized) than they are like, say, side
or point?    The third thing is the difference in sophistication of terms
between types of triangles and types of quadrilaterals: If you use
'quadrilateral' doesn't it fairly ooze out that some triangles are
equilateral, and isn't it wonderfully odd that one shape has laterality as
the hypernym but the other uses angularity?

I'm guessing that the so-called correlations to the NCTM standards that they say are provided by Scott Foresman would have the most information about what mathematics learning/development ideas motivate the lesson content; is that so?


Peg Griffin
329A Cloverdale Rd.
Montgomery, AL 36104
(334) 265-4468
Research Affiliation: Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition