Consider Hamlet's comment on Denmark after his father's death:
'Tis an unweeded garden
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely.
Compare it with the definition of 3/4 :My favorite quote from his presentation came after working to understand the product formula (is there an official name for this?): a/b x c/d = ac/bd. He said something along the lines of:
Take a pizza (or a fraction bar) and divided it into 4 equal parts. Take 3 parts.
"You've worked so hard to understand, don't you need a treat? Here's the standard algorithm. You can almost use it mindlessly."
At which point people in the audience started snickering & guffawing. Wu continued:
"We drive mindlessly. Do we consider the internal combustion engine when we do so?"
He insists that computation is a part of mathematics:
Analogies and metaphors have a place in mathematics. They can be very helpful in the understanding of precise concepts and reasoning. However, it is a mistake to allow them to replace precise concepts and reasoning.
Let us hope that fractions will be taught with less poetry, but with more emphasis on
precise definitions, andWant to enjoy the whole presentation in your own home? Point your browser to: http://math.berkeley.edu/~wu/NCTM2010.pdf