Why I like Mathematics and why Students should Discover and Create their Own

An old video – and in some points cringe-worthy now I look back – but I do sometimes like to look back at it. [By the way, I don’t have a clue where I plucked out the 90% statistic towards the end – extra planning was needed here I think!]

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3 Responses to Why I like Mathematics and why Students should Discover and Create their Own

  1. Cristina says:

    Dan, I am on my own journey of preparation to teach Math, eventually, so I would like to thank you for this blog post: it’s blowing me away! It’s giving me so much food for thought- I’m overwhelmed! I showed the movie clips to my family during breakfast this morning and read some of Paul Lockhart’s critique emphatically gesturing and nodding as I read it because he put into words some of my very own thoughts. I also appreciate his dialogue between Salviati and Simplicio, which seems to be referencing Plato’s dialogues. Thanks for posting a link for that text, by the way- I had never read it before. So much of it resonated with my own thoughts on my own Math education and reinforced the idea that I have to create meaningful ways to teach my future Math students. I realize I may sound very idealistic: I understand that education systems claim to give teachers autonomy but tend to not allow that in practice. Nonetheless, thank you for inspiring and demonstrating how teachers can (and should) be leading and encouraging students to conjecture in the Math classroom.
    Best regards to you,

    • Hi Cristina,

      I’m really glad you got something from the post – I also loved reading a Mathematician’s Lament. I found it so interesting that I was in stitches of laughter but at the same time didn’t really want to be laughing at it if you know what I mean. As you mentioned it can be difficult, especially with external assessment pressures, to always promote investigation and discovery but I think the teaching profession needs as many idealistic people as we can get!

      Good luck with your preparation to go into the teaching profession,


  2. Phil May says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post and watching the clips from your lesson. What a great way to introduce a class to what mathematics is all about. I’m hoping (if you don’t mind) to use some of these ideas when I start with some of my classes next year… The mathematician’s lament illustrates the idea really well. I’ve only read the short segment, I’ll have to read the rest over the Summer!

    Thanks for putting this on a post!


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