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Chapter 4: Everyday Mathematics, Mathematicians' Mathematics, and School Mathematics: Can We Bring Them Together?

Marta Civil
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. Monograph
Vol. 11, Everyday and Academic Mathematics in the Classroom (2002), pp. 40-62
DOI: 10.2307/749964
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/749964
Page Count: 23
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Chapter 4: Everyday Mathematics, Mathematicians' Mathematics, and School Mathematics: Can We Bring Them Together?
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Abstract

This chapter explores the tensions and compromises resulting from what seem to be different conceptions of what mathematics is and of what mathematics children should learn in school. Our work in a fifth-grade class has allowed us to combine elements of mathematicians' mathematics with the students' everyday mathematics. On the one hand, we work towards having children doing mathematics like mathematicians by working on open-ended and investigative situations, sharing ideas and strategies, and jointly negotiating meanings (Cobb, 1991; Lampert, 1986; Schoenfeld, 1991). On the other hand, we also want to develop school activities that build on the students' experiences with everyday mathematics in an effort to bridge the gap between outside and inside school experiences (Bishop, 1994; Lave, 1988; Nunes, 1992; Saxe, 1991). This work has made us reflect on the different beliefs, values, and practices in mathematics that inform our actions in the classroom. But questions still remain. We do not want students' everyday mathematics to serve simply as a source of motivation. Yet, how far can we push everyday mathematics? By mathematizing everyday situations, we may be losing what made them appealing in the first place, but we hope to advance the students' learning of generalization and abstraction in mathematics. But how do the patterns of classroom participation change as we mathematize these situations?

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