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

Hi, back,
Can I ask what we mean by "entire discussion?" 
I'm hoping that we make moot "entire" by all bringing in all the aspects that we all value.  I assume that part of Bill's "cooking" will be well informed by thoughts we all bring.
I remember Apple II's fondly because the chips would get fried from time to time and, in the early 5th D's, that gave us a chance to take them apart and use our chip pullers and the kids would peer inside with us and notice all the country's where the chips were made and we'd take the time to ponder why we thought they were American computers.
I also remember early days with kids communicating by computer when Lonnie Anderson's club members asked how nappy some distant kids hair was, taking it for granted that they were some degree of nappy, and telling us a lot about socio-cultural life.
I think mathematics is a human right; it is a cultural heritage we should have access to.  Doing the early days of thinking about mathematics in ways that lock out some kids for a long time if not for ever is just wrong.   I think the mathematics that Nancy and her colleague is working on is a powerful and hopeful approach to myths like the ones Michael W-R brings in.
Can someone chip in about mathematics and its origins in the middle east?
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, November 11, 2004 9:22 AM
Subject: 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