[Gllug] Light the blue touchpaper...
Dylan
dylan at dylan.me.uk
Wed Mar 17 19:27:00 UTC 2004
On Wednesday 17 Mar 2004 17:25 pm, Christopher Hunter wrote:
> On Wednesday 17 Mar 2004 1:42 pm, Pete Ryland wrote:
> > > Instead of learning how to perform basic mathematical
> > > calculations people are learning how to use a calculator.
> >
> > Did you learn how to calculate tan x by hand before someone gave
> > you a book with a table in it? I doubt it.
>
> Yes. It was considered to be the correct way to demonstrate the
> principles when I was at school. One you understood the priciples,
> then books of tables were introduced. That is why I probably have a
> much better understanding of mathematical principles than my daughter
> (who's at University, studying mathematics and astonomy at present).
I can even remember being made to manually calculate areas under graphs
and gradients before the introduction of anything approaching calculus.
It meant that when I looked at an integral function or differential
equation I could visualise what I was doing with the numbers and
algebra (I can't do it now, but last time I used calculus was 15 years
ago.)
OTOH, having drwn the relevant triangles to geometrically prove
Pythagoras and trig means all my DIY carpentry is spot on.
<SNIP>
> > I'll be the first to admit that my numeracy is far worse than my
> > parents', but I don't think I'm any worse for it. My maths is
> > certainly far far better than theirs. Most of my uni maths exams
> > didn't have any numbers in them anyway.
>
> Likewise, but an appreciation of the manipulation of numbers is a
> prerequisite for higher mathematics!
Same here - and it matters not at all that I can't reel of my times
tables. In fact, I got by by learning the arithmetic tricks to generate
them on the fly. I don't think it's an appreciation of the numerical
manipulation, but an understanding of the process (which IMHO is a
process which occurs irrespective of the numbers.)
Dylan
--
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little
temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
-Benjamin Franklin
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