# What does mathematics mean to you?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out Archives' started by heyMiss!, Dec 9, 2005.

1. ### heyMiss!Rookie

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Dec 9, 2005

I have to write an essay right now and I just want some brainstorming help. Would anyone be willing to throw out some ideas?
Thanks.

3. ### KaterieRookie

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Dec 16, 2005

Mathematics:
-the one academic subject that has one definite answer and thought process...

4. ### boogaboo214Companion

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Dec 16, 2005

the key to almost anything inthe world. all things involve math and numbers somewhere in it .

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Dec 16, 2005

Patterns, puzzles, sequences, order, logic, links, clues, symmetry.

6. ### TeacherGroupieModerator

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Dec 16, 2005

Um. One definite answer, often. One thought process, however? Nope.

Mathematics is first and foremost the science of patterns - big chaotic events in the natural world can be modeled by breaking them down into the intersection of lots and lots and LOTS of little regularities. It's incredibly cool. Wish I'd realized just how cool when I was younger... but I'm slowly catching up, thanks to my students and my kids.

7. ### KaterieRookie

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Dec 16, 2005

What I meant is that all complex math breaks down into the simple thought process of lower level math.

-nods-

8. ### deedeeConnoisseur

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Dec 16, 2005

I might not be the best person to ask but my true answer is.. PAIN!!!! and frustration!!!

9. ### TeacherGroupieModerator

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deedee, I'm really sorry that's the case.

10. ### KaterieRookie

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Dec 17, 2005

I personally don't know why some people hate math so much. I know that the only time I hated it was when I didn't pay attention. I suppose it's just a matter of strength and preference?

11. ### heyMiss!Rookie

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Dec 20, 2005

Although I cannot allow myself to use this as an excuse, I definitely feel that part of the original cause of my not liking math much had to do with my 4th grade teacher and the way she allowed me to be in an ongoing, embarrassing situation in her class.

I was the last to pass the "timed test" of multiplication tables... and I was usually one of the top 5 students in EVERYTHING. I don't recall any dislike of math prior to that, but I never remember liking it much since then, except for Geometry. It wasn't so much that I was "slow" or "last" that was the problem, but the fact that the whole class had to sit silently for the length of the test while I took it alone time after time (for at least a couple weeks after the others had all passed it). Why didn't she give me tutoring? Why didn't she send practice work home? I don't recall any extra effort she made to bring me up to speed, I only recall the comments of my classmates...

12. ### heyMiss!Rookie

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Dec 20, 2005

What Does Mathematics Mean to Me?

Well, this is what I ended up submitting to my professor:

What Does Mathematics Mean to Me?

The instinctive shudder that hits me when I sit down to really think about mathematics and its meaning in my life is indicative of the fear and frustration I have experienced relative to this subject in the past… in an educational setting. Obviously, my attitudes and thoughts about mathematics seemed to be very negative and detrimental to my learning and fluency development… but during this semester I have thought more about my aversion to the subject and realized that I have been over generalizing when I say that I “don’t like math” when really there are just some things about math that I don’t like. I had bad experiences with teachers in 4th grade (multiplication), as a high school freshman (Algebra 1), and in several college math classes that have left a bad taste in my mouth for the topic. Other than that, though, I really shouldn’t say I don’t like math! In fact, I really did enjoy geometry in high school. Also, I found college statistics interesting, although I have a hard time remembering procedures…

So, after dissecting what math means to me, I feel that my attitudes and thoughts about math can be viewed as one component of the whole, rather than the main topic, if I were to draw a concept map, for example. What are the other components? The role that math plays in my everyday life…outside of the classroom. How numbers or data can describe ME. Finally, I have to look at math classes, learning concepts and procedures, and the impact of my frustrations with math in the classroom (especially with teachers who don’t understand how I “just don’t get it”). I will address each of these three components individually.

Math infuses everyday life in many subtle ways that become easy to take for granted once the particular concept/procedure has been mastered. For example, I know that 4 quarters make a dollar, and four ¼ cups of flour make 1 cup… and I don’t really stop to think about the math much as I perform daily activities using math for dealing with money or cooking. I don’t stop to think that I am working with fractions, per se… I just do it. I use math to tell time, calculate speed and rate relative to distance (for example: how late am I; how fast do I need to speed to get to __ that is __ distance away in __ amount of time?), estimate how much gas I will need to get there at that speed… and so on.

To describe myself, I use physical measurements (height & weight, distance around certain body areas, etc.), IQ and GPA, net worth, and so on. Mathematics uses numbers and data to find ways to describe relationships, importance, value, dependency/independency of variables, and many other things. These computations and concepts are essential to the world because of our human need to make comparisons and place value on things. However, developing fluency in an area of math (such as multiplication) can make life simpler in that it will be easier to procedurally perform this everyday math. That is where mathematics in the classroom plays a role!

Teachers have an important role in mathematics in that they can influence students’ attitudes and thoughts about math… especially if they teach procedures or concepts AND procedures. To sum it all up, I have to think about the number sentence 2 + 2 = 5 and the fact that I would have had a complete paradigm shift if I had been taught this rather than that 2 + 2 = 4.

13. ### deedeeConnoisseur

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Dec 20, 2005

Me and Math have never gelled!
I have an IEP in math and I struggle constantly with it. This is my lasy year of math and I cant wait! I am very good in reading and writting but math isnt something I understand. Also I would shut down in school if a teacher got frustrateed in school with me and made me feel stupid infront of the class (this happened often) so I would not raise my hand or have any eye contact with the teacher at all. I would say I understood it because I was embarrased at how many times I needed it explained to me.