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*Subject*: Re: math and arithmetic*From*: Nancy Patterson <patter@VOYAGER.NET>*Date*: Sat, 23 Feb 2002 23:22:16 -0500*Reply-to*: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>*Sender*: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>

Juanita,

I'm not disagreeing with you at, but I want to tug at something you said. I

think students in 4th grade can do "advanced" mathematical thinking. By

this I mean that 4th graders can work with concepts like tessellations, for

example, and create some pretty advanced mathematical theories through that

experience. Or they can work with angles and speculate how a knowledge of

angles and their degrees can relate to some common tools and constructions

in their world. The same kinds of things can happen in language arts where

students can describe language in action and draw up some theories or

hypotheses about language structures. These are advanced theories that they

are working with, but played out in ways that are appropriate for their

developmental levels.

I read something somewhere that said arithmatic was not really mathematics

but a trick people could learn. "Doing" arithmetic was not the same as

thinking mathematically, The whole idea behind mathematics is to help

students approach logic from that direction. We need to understand, of

course, that there are other pathways to logical thinking than mathematics.

I think many people assume there is a connection for students between

arithmetic and mathematics, that by teaching arithmetic, students are

thinking mathematically. This is an assumption we shouldn't make. Just as

we should not make the assumption that the ability computate in your head

necessarily means you are a good math thinker.

Nancy

At 12:58 PM 2/23/02 EST, you wrote:

>In a message dated 2/23/02 6:19:48 AM Pacific Standard Time,

>gbracey@EROLS.COM writes:

>

>

>> Here's the question: Given FITW's overall stellar performance, do the above

>> data not indicate that mastery of "the basics" is not necessary for the

>> acquisition of advanced mathematical skills?

>>

>> In the college town where I grew up, it was a cliche that mathematicians

>> couldn't cope with arithmetic. Are arithmetic and math independent of each

>> other? My guess is yes.

>>

>>

>

>Aha! I think you've got something here, Jerry. And I think it's sort of

>like spelling and communications skills. Some of the worst spellers are the

>best communicators. However, to assume that all can master advanced math at

>4th, 7th, and 10th grade, which is what we are doing here in WA, is illitist.

>And skipping the basics denies people of what the majority need to function

>in the world.

>

>Juanita

><HTML><FONT FACE=arial,helvetica><FONT SIZE=2 FAMILY="SANSSERIF"

FACE="Arial" LANG="0">In a message dated 2/23/02 6:19:48 AM Pacific Standard

Time, gbracey@EROLS.COM writes:<BR>

><BR>

><BR>

><BLOCKQUOTE TYPE=CITE style="BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff 2px solid; MARGIN-LEFT:

5px; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">Here's the question: Given

FITW's overall stellar performance, do the above data not indicate that

mastery of "the basics" is not necessary for the acquisition of advanced

mathematical skills?</FONT><FONT COLOR="#000000" style="BACKGROUND-COLOR:

#ffffff" SIZE=3 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial" LANG="0"><BR>

> <BR>

></FONT><FONT COLOR="#000000" style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff" SIZE=2

FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial" LANG="0">In the college town where I grew

up, it was a cliche that mathematicians couldn't cope with arithmetic.

Are arithmetic and math independent of each other? My guess is

yes.</FONT><FONT COLOR="#000000" style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff" SIZE=3

FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial" LANG="0"><BR>

> <BR>

></BLOCKQUOTE><BR>

></FONT><FONT COLOR="#000000" style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff" SIZE=2

FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial" LANG="0"><BR>

>Aha! I think you've got something here, Jerry. And I think it's

sort of like spelling and communications skills. Some of the worst

spellers are the best communicators. However, to assume that all can

master advanced math at 4th, 7th, and 10th grade, which is what we are doing

here in WA, is illitist. And skipping the basics denies people of what the

majority need to function in the world.<BR>

><BR>

>Juanita</FONT></HTML>

>

Nancy G. Patterson, PhD

"To educate as the practice of freedom is a way of teaching that anyone can

learn."

--bell hooks

patter@voyager.net

<http://www.msu.edu/user/patter90/opening.htm>

<http://www.npatterson.net>

<http://www.npatterson.net/standardizedtesting.html>

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