kitchen table math, the sequel: The Scribner Arithmetic

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Scribner Arithmetic

I was just talking to a woman here who is working on a transparency project (I'm in!). She got her start in all this when her district adopted TERC and rejected all forms of acceleration for gifted kids; now she's asking local townships for budget docs and the like.

Never occurred to me that the math wars can also have consequences for local government.


She mentioned that when she looked back at her old textbooks, as well as her father's books, she was impressed. Her dad used Scribner Arithmetic in the 1950s.

Does anyone know anything about it?

The Scribner Arithmetic: Book 5

The Scribner Arithmetic: Book 5

I wish I could remember the math books my school bought when I was in 2nd grade, I think. I remember thinking they were beautiful. Not just beautiful but elegant, though I don't think I knew to apply that word to a book at the time.


Lisa said...

I don't know what book we used in 5th grade (it was white with red units on it) but it was the year they introduced set theory and different bases and I decided I was 'dumb at math'. I wouldn't wish that book on anyone.

LynnG said...

I've been collecting old elementary math books for a while now. They are fascinating, and as you say, sometimes elegant. My favorites are the ones with doodles in the margin, and I can only imagine what child sat there with this book in their hand 100 years ago and attempted to multiply a fraction.

I note many differences between modern fuzzy math books and these old ones: 1) old books were far thinner 2) they contained far more problems 3) conceptual understanding and real world problem solving were issues even a hundred years ago, and 4)the books didn't teach, there is almost a complete lack of any explanatory material. The teachers taught, the books were to provide work and practice.

palisadesk said...

Wow, I wouldn't have recognized the name of the series, but I did have that book series, later than the '50's (I recognized the cover immediately) in 4th-6th grades at least. Not sure about 7th and 8th grades, I know we were into algebra by then. And Latin. How times change....

CassyT said...

LynnG said: I've been collecting old elementary math books for a while now.

One of my faves is Arithmetic for Evening Schools by William E. Chancellor, 1904. The text is designed for students who studied arithmetic:

"as far as fractions and denominate numbers. Few have gone farther. Most of them understand more than they can do. Their knowledge of arithmetic is beyond the extent of their skills in accurate and rapid computing."