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Re: [holistichelping] More comments for My Math Story!

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  • Pamela McLean
    Hi Andrius A bit of trivia you may enjoy knowing related to practical maths teaching and items in the British Museum. At present on BBC radio 4 there si a
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 10, 2010
      Hi Andrius

      A bit of trivia you may enjoy knowing related to practical maths teaching and items in the British Museum.

      At present on BBC radio 4 there si a series called something link "A History of the World in a Hundred Objects". It is filling the slot that is usually filled by the morning story, so if you wan tto hear it for yourself I imagine that (like the morning story) you can get it via the website as a "listen again" for about a week, or it may even be podcast.

      Yesterday is was about a very ancient papyrus that was used by people in Egypt who wanted to get good administrative jobs. It was pretty expensive - about the price of a goat - but taught you all you needed to know in order to do the practical calculations of the day  - running building projects, trade, agriculture, making appropriate offerings to the gods, etc 

      I heard an eariier item in the series too.it was about the very earliest writing (perhaps on a clay tablet, I forget). Anyhow it was making the point that writing for calculations for administrtion came into being before writing as literature. It was aboaut making payments to people for work done - pre-money so the payments were in something real. I forget if it was beer or grain (I think beer) - and the records were hieroglyphs rather than phonetic writing - but practical maths to the fore again.


      On 10 February 2010 13:53, Andrius Kulikauskas <ms@...> wrote:

      Thank you to Ananya Guha (India), Masimba Biriwasha (France), Wendi
      Loshe Bernadette (Cameroon), Benoit Couture (Canada), Ken Owino
      (Denmark), Samwel Kongere (Kenya), Pamela McLean (UK), Algis Cibulskis
      (Lithuania), Peter Ongele (Kenya), Sasha Mrkailo (Serbia), Fred Kayiwa
      (Uganda), Tom Ochuka (Kenya), Malcom Duerod (Bosnia) for your comments
      on my proposal, My Math Story!

      I ask others to comment as well so that we have a good chance of
      winning. Thomas Chepaitis, Josephat Ndibalema, William Wambura, Dennis
      Kimambo, Ben de Vries, Jeremy Mason, Kiyavilo Msekwa and all who have
      worked or would like to work for Minciu Sodas, please be sure to
      comment! This may mean $50,000 of work for me and $75,000 of work for
      our team.

      Edward Cherlin, John Harland, Julie Harland, Tom Wayburn, Ricardo and
      all who care about math and science education, please do comment! I
      look forward to working with you more closely if my proposal makes it to
      the second round.

      You can simply reply to this letter with a thought or two and I can post
      your comment myself. Or you can register at

      They have also extended the deadline for new proposals to February 15, 2010.

      Thank you for your solidarity!

      Andrius Kulikauskas, Minciu Sodas, http://www.ms.lt, ms@...



      My Math Story
      Andrius Kulikauskas, Ph.D.

      We collect mathematical quantities (amounts and units) and classic math
      problems (and the deep ideas they illustrate). We thereby foster
      mathematical intuition that arises from working with real life problems
      as opposed to contrived ones. We link up to help real activists around
      the world.

      Mathematics is traditionally taught through repetition of contrived
      problems which lack any meaningful context and thus destroy mathematical
      intuition. Instead, we create formats to encourage the collection of
      real life applications. We collect many ourselves, starting with
      quantities that arise in the real world (including news stories,
      almanacs, technical specifications) and organize them by amount
      (increasing) and unit (such as meters, seconds, dollars, grams, liters,
      bits, decibels, watts, meters per second, etc.) We create navigation
      tools so students can grasp orders of magnitude using their own favorite
      examples. We also collect illustrative problems, for example: suppose a
      meal at your cafeteria costs X=$9, and at the restaurant it costs
      one-third more, but you have a coupon for "one-third off" at the
      restaurant, where is it cheaper? (At the restaurant it will be $12 minus
      one-third which is $8, which shows that the meaning of "one-third"
      changes, and so this classic problem illustrates the deep idea that
      algebra is thinking step-by-step.) We show that several dozen thoughtful
      problems can teach all of algebra. We create interfaces for students to
      generate variants of such problems and post along with comments. We link
      the problems to Wolfram Alpha, and also to real life stories of
      "witnesses" from news, educational, activist and social networking
      sites. We especially encourage real life connections with
      witnesses-activists from the developing world, including hundreds that
      we organize to help us collect real math applications and to staff a
      chat room for interactive learning. Our content will be Public Domain.
      We create formats so this activity can be done at wikis (including
      Wikipedia), YouTube, Flickr, and shared via RSS. We help a variety of
      websites host specialized collections and aggregate feeds so that our
      formats take root across the web.

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