Moscow, Idaho, USA
What role does language and language learning play in learning and doing math? What sparks the excitement of a mathematician? What kinds of thinking and play are “mathematical?” How do you articulate what mathematics is, both to children and their often math-phobic teachers? Is it possible to teach children the standard mathematics curriculum within a rich and exciting context of mathematical ideas?
These were some of the questions underlying a collaboration between language teacher Nancy Casey and mathematician Michael Fellows which led to the publication of This is MegaMathematics! a guide for elementary school teachers who wanted to bring mathematics into their classrooms as a living discipline, while at the same time meeting the demands of the traditional mathematics curriculum.
Eventually a wave of conservatism in American education washed This is MegaMathematics! into obscurity, but with its re-release this year, we can ask which of the many lessons teachers, mathematicians and students learned from each other in these classroom experiments remain relevant for collaborations today.
References for the teaching of language arts in elementary school and high school using the “whole language” method that taps the students’ broad set of language-learning strategies for the teaching of reading, writing, and other communication skills.
The seminal papers of the Mega-Math project
Descriptions of classroom activities that use methods and materials from Mega-Math