[Edu-sig] Algebra 2

Ivan Krstić krstic at solarsail.hcs.harvard.edu
Mon Oct 6 22:28:40 CEST 2008

[Kirby, I find it very difficult to follow your messages; they tend to  
be long and meandering. I'm certain I'm not the only one. Please try  
to be more directly on-topic and succinct.]

On Oct 6, 2008, at 10:56 AM, kirby urner wrote:
> What passes for "pure math" would be something to study in college,  
> after getting a broad sampling ahead of time, good overview, the job  
> of a pre-specializing curriculum.

Speaking with no experience teaching mathematics, only learning it,  
this statement strikes me as sheer nonsense. It's like saying "what  
passes for painting would be something to study in college, after  
getting a broad sampling of brushes, stroke techniques and paint  
chemistry ahead of time, all without ever seeing an actual painting."

This isn't a discussion that's particularly on-topic for Python's edu- 
sig, so I won't belabor it much. I share the views expressed at some  
length in Paul Lockhart's excellent "A mathematician's lament" (<http://radian.org/~krstic/LockhartsLament.pdf 
 >). In summary, if you don't show kids that mathematics is something  
beautiful, how are they supposed to have anything but bored disregard  
for the seemingly meaningless mechanics they're taught for 8 years  
before college? Fractions don't qualify as beauty. Many aspects of  
pure mathematics do.

Ivan Krstić <krstic at solarsail.hcs.harvard.edu> | http://radian.org

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