LOGO-L> NewsScan Daily 
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 LOGO-L> NewsScan Daily

There is a newsletter called "NewsScan Daily" put out in part by the
IEEE which readers of this list might find interesting.  Subscription is
free.

The following is taken from a recent issue:

WORTH THINKING ABOUT:  BRAIN TEASERS
 Martin Gardner, who for many years edited Scientific American's
mathematical games department, argued that puzzles are more than fun and
games:
"Please do not suppose that the only function of puzzles is to
entertain. Puzzles are a way of teaching mathematics. Indeed, they are
the
best way to teach it. Fred Hoyle, the famous British astronomer who
taught
mathematics at Cambridge University for twenty years states in strong
terms
his belief that mathematics should never be 'taught' at all. Students
must
learn for themselves. How? 'By solving puzzles. The functions of the
teacher
should be, first, to select in a wise way the material on which the
puzzles
are based, second, to make sure the puzzles are well suited in
difficulty to
the sophistication of the student, third, to answer questions, and
finally,
if the teacher is capable of it, to give an occasional word of
inspiration.'"

NewsScan Daily (FREE), a lively summary of information technology news.

line type "subscribe". NewsScan Daily is co-sponsored by Arthur Andersen
www.knowledgespace.com and IEEE Computer Society www.computer.org .

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--
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http://www.*-*-*.com/ ~caggiano/
ICQ# 20694472
---------------------------------------------------------------





Tue, 12 Mar 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 LOGO-L> NewsScan Daily
Regarding:

Quote:
> WORTH THINKING ABOUT:  BRAIN TEASERS
>  Martin Gardner, who for many years edited Scientific American's
> mathematical games department, argued that puzzles are more than fun and
> games:
> "Please do not suppose that the only function of puzzles is to
> entertain. Puzzles are a way of teaching mathematics. Indeed, they are
> the best way to teach it.

As a child I loved puzzles and don't doubt I learned much from them. BUT
when I discovered computer programming, I found I rarely did puzzles
anymore. Why? I think it is because I found programming to be like puzzle
solving only much much more. Figuring out how to construct a piece of a
program or track down a program bug is very much like puzzle solving. But
programming has so many other attractive qualities. You can create things
and universes by programming. And programs can be run on a computer - making
your creations come alive.

Now I am not trying to start a "puzzles vs. programming" argument. I agree
with Bob Gorman that we should have both. But given a limited amount of
time, I'd recommend programming over puzzles.

Best,

-ken kahn (www.toontalk.com)



Tue, 12 Mar 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 LOGO-L> NewsScan Daily
     Hmmmmmm.  I can see the use of puzzles for teaching mathematics.  But
I am always a little suspicious of professors who tell the world how their
discipline is to be learned or taught.  What they say is usually very good
for those witha natural predicliction or special support etc.  But there
are many who do not "get it".  Maybe it is because they can't (limited
wiring?).  Maybe they don't have the right atmosphere.  Maybe they don't
think the puzzle's are very interesting, any puzzle.  I guess if you are
making mathematicians this may be true, but what if you are just making
people.  Should we do nothing but give them puzzles.  Will the
person of average mental ability and environment (whatever those are) be
able to solve the puzzles and learn math?  Is all we need to do is make
sure that the puzzles are arranged in the right sequential order for the
right person, provide a little encouragement and they will learn
mathematics?  Sounds like a mathematician thought this up, not a musician
or janitor.

---------------------------------------------------------------





Tue, 12 Mar 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 3 post ] 

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