In Where Mathematics Comes From,
cognitive scientists George Lakoff and Rafael Nuñez assert that our understanding of abstract mathematical concepts relies upon our sensory-motor experiences:
“For the most part, human beings conceptualize abstract concepts in concrete terms, using ideas and modes of reasoning grounded in the sensory-motor system. The mechanism by which the … Continue Reading ››
The cover story of the April 2014 issue of Mathematics Teacher
is on "Iteration in the Complex Plane"
, by Robin S. O'Dell. It sounds like pretty advanced mathematics, but is surprisingly accessible with The Geometer's Sketchpad.
It's all based on the surprising principle that you can multiply two complex numbers very easily if … Continue Reading ››
Algebra classes devote considerable time to equations in a single variable before solving multiple equations in two or more unknowns. But just because elementary-age students are not familiar with algebraic symbolism doesn't mean they can't solve simultaneous equations, too!
The mathematician and educator W. W. Sawyer
makes a compelling argument for the … Continue Reading ››
Shiva Gol Tabaghi obtained her PhD degree in Mathematics Education from Simon Fraser University in 2012. This guest post is based on her doctoral dissertation research. Presently, she is involved in teaching undergraduate mathematics courses at Simon Fraser University. She enjoys using dynamic geometric diagrams to influence students' ways of thinking about mathematical concepts.
If you’ve taken linear algebra, chances … Continue Reading ››
π Day has always been a special day for me, from my earliest days. In fact, I've never figured out whether I was so eager to celebrate my first π Day that I jumped the gun and sent my mom into labor early, or whether I just wanted be sure to experience all 24 hours … Continue Reading ››
Below is an interactive puzzle called Arranging Addends. The goal of the puzzle is to arrange the circles and the six numbers (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32) so that three conditions are met simultaneously: The sum of the numbers in the green circle is 21, the sum of the numbers in the blue circle … Continue Reading ››
In my Advanced Methods class at Penn’s Graduate School of Education, my students are working in groups to create shared lesson plans using an inquiry approach. For a number of reasons it can be challenging for these pre-service teachers to identify appropriate topics for student inquiry, but sometimes the brainstorming they do turns into something … Continue Reading ››
In the 1970s, my childhood friend Tim owned an Activision console and a variety of game cartridges. Tim was the envy of our block, but no matter how much I enjoyed a rousing game of Pong, I knew that my electronic toy was even better. No, I didn't own the rival Atari game system: I … Continue Reading ››
Take a look at the interactive model below. Most of the numbers in the array are shaded orange, but several are blue. What is special about these blue values? They are the factors of 32, the largest number in the array.
Try dragging the red point to change the … Continue Reading ››
Take a look at the two groups of shapes below. Both groups contain an equilateral triangle and a square. Now imagine that you showed students each group and asked them to identify the shapes. Do you think students would do equally well in naming the shapes in group A and group B?
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