Revisiting Mathematics Education: China Lectures by Hans Freudenthal

By Hans Freudenthal

This booklet is a made of love and admire. If that sounds relatively unusual I at the start apologise, yet allow me clarify why i take advantage of these phrases. the unique manuscript was once in fact Freudenthal’s, yet his colleagues have carried the venture via to its end with love for the fellow, and his principles, and with a recognize built over years of communal attempt. Their invitation to me to write down this Preface e- bles me to pay my respects to the good guy, even supposing i'm most likely incurring his wrath for writing a Preface for his publication with out his permission! I simply desire he is familiar with the sentiments of all colleagues engaged during this specific venture. Hans Freudenthal died on October thirteenth, 1990 while this e-book undertaking was once good in hand. in truth he wrote to me in April 1988, announcing “I am wondering a brand new booklet. i've got received the sub-title (China Lectures) although I nonetheless lack a title”. i used to be astonished. He had retired in 1975, yet after all he stored operating. Then in 1985 we have been assisting him have fun his eightieth birthday, and even if I acknowledged in an article assertion in academic reviews in arithmetic (ESM) on the time “we look ahead to him having fun with many extra years of non-retirement” i didn't anticipate to work out one other long manuscript.

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The criterion for divisibility by 9, as learned at school, is hardly mathematics, but challenging its validity The positional system, modelled by the abacus, can be a source of schematising: If the given number is represented by balls on the bows of the abacus, than transferring a ball from one bow to another means changing the number by a multiple of 9; so if all of them are transferred to the units bow, it appears that modulo 9 the number itself equals its sum of digits. This reasoning extends by generalising to other positional systems.

It seems that distances to be distributed among two persons are more likely to elicit geometrical strategies than are quantities, such as tap water, work and food. 38 CHAPTER 1 Mental objects such as "speed" are basically schematised and formalised in two -- opposite -- ways: path per time and time per path; the latter is particularly preferred when comparing sport achievements. Gasoline consumption is another example of the twin schematisation: the driver figures out how far a full tank can take him, in order to know whether he can cover a certain distance with one tank.

Newton himself refused to contrive primitive mechanic models for explaining gravitation. So, as time went on, physicists had to accept, quite often grudgingly, attraction by the force of gravitation as a model in its own right which, second only to Huygens’ wave theory of light, was the first model in modem times to transcend common sense experience. History repeats itself: When elastic models of light propagation, suggested by 19th century’s common sense mechanics, to refine Huygens’ wave theory failed, physicists had to accept Maxwell’s electro-magnetic light model.

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