# Month: October 2017(Page 2 of 2)

In 2002, a mathematician named Paul Lockhart wrote an essay called “A Mathematician’s Lament,” a passionate criticism of mathematics education in America.  It has become widely known among mathematicians and mathematics educators – not everyone agrees with everything he says (though many do), but everyone seems to have something to say about “Lockhart’s Lament,” as it is called.  For this week’s assignment, you will read a short excerpt (three pages) from his essay and respond to the prompts below.

Assignment (Due Thursday, 10/12/17). Your assignment has three parts:

First, read the section titled “Mathematics and Culture” (pages 3-5) in Lockhart’s essay, (click here).  If you’re interested, I encourage you to read more, starting at the beginning – but this is not required.

Second, write a response to what you read and post it in the comments below.  Your response should be at least 300 words. Your response should represent your own thoughts and opinions on what you read, and can include responses to any or all of the following:

• What is one thing that you agree with in the reading? Explain why.
• What is one thing that you do not agree with? Explain.
• Choose one quote that you think stands out in the reading.  Give the quote, and explain why you chose it.
• Have you ever had an experience of mathematics as art?
• On page 5, Lockhart describes mathematics in schools today as “heartbreaking”.  What do you think he means?  Do you agree? How do your own math experiences in school compare to his description?

Here is an example: Let’s imagine that you have just been introduced to the game Tic-Tac-Toe.  After playing it for a while, you might come up with one of the following conjectures about Tic-Tac-Toe:
Conjecture: The person who goes first always wins.
Conjecture: The corner the best move.
Conjecture: It’s impossible to win, no matter who goes first.

ps.  Paul Lockhart retired from being a first-rate research mathematician in order to teach math at a private elementary school here in Brooklyn, Saint Ann’s School, where he says “I have happily been subversively teaching mathematics (the real thing) since 2000.”

Group Activity (25 min).  Get into your groups (group assignments appear below), arrange your chairs in a circle, and take 25 minutes to:

1.  Share your responses to OpenLab #4.  Compare your answers to the given examples (do you all agree on the solutions?).  Now share your own puzzles with the group, and discuss.

2.  Create three new puzzles, as tricky as possible (try to stump Prof. Reitz!).

Group work due after 25 minutes:  Each group will hand in a sheet of paper with the names of the groups members, the date, and the three new puzzles created by the group.  You do not need to submit solutions, but you do need to be able to solve the puzzles on request.

Reflection:  To be completed individually after group work is complete, and submitted on paper with your name and the date.  Take 5 minutes to write on the following prompt:

Briefly reflect on the process of working in a group by responding to each of these points:
1.  Describe something you learned.
2.  Describe something you contributed to the group.
3.  How did today’s work change your understanding of your assigned game?

## Group Assignments

Group 1: Zaniya, Neil, Kelly,
Group 2: Stephanie, Yasmine, Syed, Ahmad
Group 3: Evelin, Josvenia, Sonam, Miralia

Written work – None.
WeBWorK – Assignment #5, due Tuesday, October 10th, at midnight.
OpenLab – OpenLab #5, due Thursday, October 12th, before class.

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