Out of the labyrinth setting mathematics free
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They aren't presented all This book intends to make math more accessible, which I understand to be the point of the Math Circle program created by the authors. Instead, they argue, math should be taught as the highest form of intellectual play, an endeavor to be explored and enjoyed by children or adults of any age. Those the authors believe can appeal to any age include Cantorian set theory and , while those they put off until 9-13 years old include complex numbers, solution of polynomials by radicals, and — heady but exciting stuff for a nine year old! It challenged every prejudice I had developed about the subject. Robert Kaplan is the author of the best-selling The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero, which has been translated into 10 languages, and together they wrote The Art of the Infinite. They show, for instance, that mathematical ability is not a matter of inborn genius, but of doggedness and attention.

Robert Kaplan is the author of the best-selling The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero, which has been translated into 10 languages, and together they wrote The Art of the Infinite. Who hasn't feared the math Minotaur in its labyrinth of abstractions? Description: 1 online resource ix, 244 pages : illustrations Contents: Acknowledgments -- ch. I also enjoyed the examples from the classes and the ways they got students to get into certain ideas, even though many of the ideas were over my head. It was only in the final chapter where they gave examples of journals that they managed to communicate with simplicity and clarity, which made it all the clearer that the language of the earlier chapters was a pose. It was curiosity, obsession, and sheer perseverance that brought me to my ideas. What a perverse fate for one of our kind's greatest triumphs! One by one, they dismantle the many barriers to appreciating mathematics, from the self-defeating belief that mathematical talent is inborn, to the off-putting language of mathematics, to the question of why anyone should care.

It's the long, middle section of the book that I found less compelling. Learning Greek and Latin used to play the role of character builder, since they were considered to be as exhausting and unrewarding as digging a trench in the morning and filling it up in the afternoon. The topics, again, are a far cry from. It turns out that the authors run a , practising on kids of all ages. Stocked with puzzles, colorful anecdotes, and insights from the authors own teaching experience, Out of the Labyrinth is both an engaging and practical guide for parents and educators, and a treasure chest of mathematical discoveries.

This is mathematics, which reaches down into our deepest intuitions and outward toward the nature of the universe -- mathematics, which explains the atoms as well as the stars in their courses, and lets us see into the ways that rivers and arteries branch. For any reader who has felt the excitement of mathematical discovery—or tried to convey it to someone else—this volume will be a delightful and valued companion. Instead, they argue, math should be taught as the highest form of intellectual play, an endeavor to be explored and enjoyed by children or adults age. They have an inquiry based approach that engenders the transferable habits of mind necessary for mathematicians to solve any problem rather than teaching algorithmic approaches that help students solve only particular kinds of problems. Approached this as a skim after seeing it on the shelves at Powells math and science store, that is and getting it from the library instead.

Chapter Six - How Math Has Been Taught. The E-mail message field is required. Ellen Kaplan is also co-author of Chances Are: Adventures in Robert and Ellen Kaplan have taught mathematics to people from six to sixty, at leading independent schools and most recently at Harvard University. The Kaplans have written a great rationale and explanation of their Math Circle approach to teaching mathematics. It's the long, middle section of the book that I found less compelling.

Found it relatively unhelpful on that score. I think this is simply arguing for mathematical epistemology as akin to — in programming terms — summarizing functions by their pre and post conditions. The subject can seem convoluted and forbidding. The Great Barrier Reef -- Language : symbols -- Language : equations -- Language : third person remote -- The Buddha, the Bodhisattva, and the Bo -- Climbing a tall building -- Alienation -- Diamond hard -- who cares? It doesn't just help us to balance our checkbooks; it leads us to see the balances hidden in the tumble of events, and the shapes of those quiet symmetries behind the random clatter of things. However, the main point they were making: that notation invented by the children, will be owned and understood by the children, is a point well made.

Incongruously, in this book, when they are presented, simple concepts are inflated and more challenging concepts are oversimplified. I would recommend that maths teachers give this book a miss and instead read one of the books about problem-posing which is an approach explained with far greater clarity and less desire to impress. Chapter Three - The Myth of Talent. Both perspectives are roundly rejected by the authors, and in any case are very far removed from the reality of mathematics research. Later in the book, when discussing competition, Math Olympiads, etc. And yet it still provided me with inspiration and a desire to restart the math circle I was running last academic year. They show, for instance, that mathematical ability is not a matter of inborn genius, but of doggedness and attention.

Now, in Out of the Labyrinth, Robert and Ellen Kaplan--the founders of The Math Circle, the popular learning program begun at Harvard in 1994--reveal the secrets behind their highly successful approach, leading readers out of the labyrinth and into the joyous embrace of mathematics. It will allow students, parents, teachers, and others to wrestle with the accessible mysteries of math- and discover their inner math genius. Chapter Five - The Great Barrier Reef. Was reading this in hopes of getting concrete advice about how to replicate the authors' Math Circle model in my own community. The myth of talent -- ch. How mathematicians actually work -- ch. Ellen Kaplan is also co-author of Chances Are: Adventures in Probability.

They aren't presented all that much though. The final chapter of the book summarises some ideas for math circle style courses, broken down by age range. I found this book to be a frustrating read. Appendix: Thoughts of a Young Teacher. The authors say in the first chapter that the book describes among other things how they removed the barriers to enjoying mathematics.

It was curiosity, obsession, and sheer perseverance that brought me to my ideas. A Note on Our Pronouns. In their classrooms students ages six to sixty have discovered mathematics as the highest form of intellectual play, while exploring topics that range from Roman numerals to quantum mechanics. It will allow students, parents, teachers, and others to wrestle with the accessible mysteries of math--and discover their inner math genius. The subject can seem convoluted and forbidding. The illustrative problems are well done, but the trappings are the majority of the book and are unwieldy. Out of the Labyrinth: Setting Mathematics Free.