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Chapter 5: Mathematics at Work: Spatial and Geometric Reasoning in Tool-and-Die Machining

John P. Smith III
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. Monograph
Vol. 13 (2005)
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30037733
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Chapter 5: Mathematics at Work: Spatial and Geometric Reasoning in Tool-and-Die Machining
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Abstract

This study characterizes the mathematical dimensions of routine work practices in one knowledge-intensive workplace: a tool-and-die shop where sheet-metal dies are fabricated for the automobile industry. The analysis highlights the spatial and geometric character of machinists' work and reasoning with computer-numeric-control (CNC) machine tools. Specifically, the machinist I worked with was highly skilled in spatial visualization in 3-dimensional space, coordination of complex 2-dimensional representations with equally complex 3-dimensional objects, and alignment of different 3-dimensional Cartesian coordinate systems, as well as various forms of numerical reasoning. Short video segments introduce the reader to the workplace and a series of mathematically significant problems and solutions in the initial phase of work on one die. The paper interleafs description and interpretive analysis, scene by scene, and concludes with a discussion of how mathematical analyses of work practices can contribute to thoughtful consideration of Grades K-12 school mathematics.

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