Rethinking mathematics in schools : Research Ideas

I was fortunate on doing a search on YouTube on Seymour Papert to make a discovery of a video called  “The Math Liberation Front” . In this video we saw three children dressed in guerilla clothes stating that mathematics should be fun and interesting but it has been ruined by the owners of the curriculum who make it boring.

The end of the video gave a link to the site that this video came from which is  http://www.researchideas.ca/index.html  This is a really exciting site that contains stories, videos, lesson plans and other material .

The basis of the site is the belief that mathematics should be an experience that is enjoyable. The child should have the chance to explore ideas and language arts should be a major means for this to happen.

The leading researcher in this approach is George Gadanidis  He has written as book called “What Did You Do In Math Today?” which he states is the question that many parents ask their child after they get home from school, only to be told, “I don’t know” or “nothing”.

To quote Gadanidis:

How can we change this?

  • engage children with “math that is interesting to talk about” and,
  • help children develop communication skills for telling good math stories
Well this site does just that. It contains some really good interviews with mathematicians, some excellent stories or links to books that can be purchased for maths lessons. There are videos of children exploring some wonderful mathematical ideas (for instance if you walk towards a door you can get half way there, then you can get half way to the half distance that is left and so on ad infinitum, the only problem is you never get to the door… why is that?).

I must admit that I found the site full of good (and exciting) ideas and would very much have liked the opportunity to have experienced mathematics like this when I was at school.

I can thoroughly recommend the site and hope that it gets the following that it deserves.

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