[Edu-sig] Re: Teaching Middle-School Math with Python

Matthias Felleisen matthias@rice.edu
Tue, 10 Oct 2000 16:47:41 -0500 (CDT)

  The book I mean is one you wrote, where you have two columns, with 
  the answer on the right (you cover it with your hand or a piece of
  paper, and answer questions mentally, before sliding the paper down
  and checking your answer).  I was pretty sure car and cdr were covered 
  in that book.  If not, I'm surprised that memory fails me.  

Yes, *that* book covers car/cdr and friends. But that's from 1984 (or even
1974, if you count the first edition). The book that matters for teaching
in schools is "How to Design Programs". 

  Also, I'd think you'd _want_ to cover car and cdr when approaching 
  programming in Scheme

Why? That would be silly. Teaching in middle school and even high school
our objectives are to produce thinking kids who can use some programming 
tool not finished Python/Scheme programmers. 

If you come from a world of bits, bytes, loops and heavy syntax, learning
Scheme is difficult. If you come with an open mind, it's easy. We hear that
again and again.

  My "math through programming" approach is to build on terminology already 
  evolved in ordinary math classes.  I personally like talking about models
  and views and would like to see more of this phased in.  

  In the meantime, what we already teach about are functions, relations, 
  compositions of functions, domain, range, sets, intersection, union... the 
  standard math topics, found in most text books the last 10-15 years.  

  This is what math teachers like to see -- familiar terms.  Neither "model" 
  nor "view" is a prevalent term in that knowledge domain (again, I think 
  this should change).

Absolutely. Model and view is for us who know that Model is about
functions, relations, compositions, domain, range, sets, ... (see TLL).
View is about the stupid i/o crap that most languages impose on kids. 

-- Matthias