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ERIC Number: EJ898322
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 10
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5769
The Mathematics of Garlic
Moore, Nathan T.; Deming, John C.
Mathematics Teacher, v104 n1 p22-28 Aug 2010
The garlic problem presented in this article develops several themes related to dimensional analysis and also introduces students to a few basic statistical ideas. This garlic problem was used in a university preparatory chemistry class, designed for students with no chemistry background. However, this course is unique because one of the primary course goals is developing students' scientific thinking skills, including those described by Jean Piaget. These skills include control and exclusion of variables, classification, ratio and proportion, probability, combinatorial logic, the ability to formulate and manipulate mental models, and the ability to formulate and systematically test alternative hypotheses against data. These skills are used in all scientific disciplines and, accordingly, should be targeted in a secondary school mathematics classroom. The garlic problem described in this article challenges students to apply their knowledge of measurement and proportions in a novel context and provides a place to practice probabilistic reasoning, a hard-to-target skill in physical science classrooms. (Contains 5 figures and 1 table.)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A