03 August 2007

a thought on teaching

From today's Philadelphia Inquirer: Masters of "spring" theory, about how physics is now being taught in some high schools by a "modeling" approach, in which students basically try to figure out the principles of physics for themselves, by teacher-facilitated experimentation. This requires the teachers to go through some intensive training themselves in order to teach this way.

To what extent is it possible to teach mathematics this way? I've heard of the Moore method, which seems like an analogue of this, but from what I've read that sounds like it's been most successful at the post-secondary levels. I also don't know if this particular page is the best explanation of the Moore method, because I've never experienced it myself.

(Also, apparently "string theory" is well-enough known that a mainstream news paper feels like they can make puns on it in their headlines. I'm not sure what to make of this.)

1 comment:

Matt Brubeck said...

Seymour Papert's Mindstorms is largely about the use of the Logo programming environment as a tool for teaching mathematics through exploration and experimentation. The mathematics learned in a Logo environment is not the same as traditional grade-school mathematics (sums, long division, etc.) Like the "spring theory" in this article, the Logo method requires extensive teacher training. Papert provides some excellent anecdotes from real-world experiences with Logo environments.