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ERIC Number: EJ902168
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1073-5836
A New World of Mathematics Thinking
Schwartz, James E.
Teaching Children Mathematics, v17 n3 p164-169 Oct 2010
The "flat" world described by Friedman (2006) is one of global supply chains and economic networks, outsourcing, international personal entrepreneurial opportunities, and nearly unlimited, universal information availability. American children will inherit a world in which their competition and opportunities are international. In light of these realities, American teachers must think differently about how they prepare children to participate as productive citizens in that flat world. To prepare elementary school students for the flat world, today's teachers have different needs, particularly with regard to the scope of the mathematics that they must embrace. The U.S. Department of Education recommends that teachers "know in detail the mathematical content they are responsible for teaching and its connection to other important mathematics, both prior to and beyond the level they are assigned to teach" (National Mathematics Advisory Panel 2008, p. 37). Bringing teachers to a deeper level of understanding of important mathematical concepts should be the educators' goal. By focusing on a small number of generalizable "high concepts," educators can enable teachers to deepen their own and then their students' understanding of mathematics. Five powerful ideas permeate grades K-12 mathematics curriculum and act as a superstructure to connect various math topics and concepts: (1) Composition; (2) Decomposition; (3) Relationships; (4) Representation; and (5) Context. This article discusses only composition and decomposition--two ideas which have particularly great potential to transform mathematics teaching. (Contains 6 figures.)
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: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A