New Cur 27: The Proof Is in the Plodding

A month or so ago, we posted on Euclid et al, asking about the proper role of proof in a mathematics curriculum. The question and subsequent discussion was purely theoretical of course, since proof barely exists in the Australian Curriculum. Here’s the proof. Continue reading “New Cur 27: The Proof Is in the Plodding”

New Cur 25: Some Cultures Are More Equal Than Others

It’s a mathematics curriculum: one does not expect much history or many references to other cultures. Typically there are a few Roman numerals, a quick hello to Pythagoras and Archimedes, and that’s about it. More would be good, but it is not to be expected.

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New Cur 24: ATSI Elaborations and the Games People Play

Last year, after the appearance of ACARA’s appalling draft curriculum, we ran a competition: find the best Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elaboration. No one took our competition seriously. This was perhaps unsurprising, since most readers of this blog would have been sceptical already, and then our introduction to the competition hammered the ATSI cross-curriculum priority as enacted in the draft mathematics curriculum. We were serious, but no matter. There is a new mathematics curriculum, with revised ATSI elaborations, and we move on.

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New Cur 23: False Equivalence


The word “equivalent” is one of the most useful in mathematics and one of the most abused in mathematics education. The implication is that this one is not all ACARA’s fault. Nonetheless, the fact that it was predictable that ACARA would make a mess of it doesn’t alter the fact that ACARA made a mess of it. So, here we are. And a warning: this is a long post; there seemed no way around it.

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New Cur 22: Stupor Model

When attacking ACARA’s draft mathematics curriculum, we noted the frequency with which certain words and phrases appeared. Below is the revised count for some of these, for the new curriculum. Not that ACARA is mandating how teachers should teach, or anything like that. It’s obviously the furthest thing from ACARA’s innocent little mind.

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New Cur 21: Depression of the Mean

It is no surprise that the Statistics strand of the new mathematics curriculum is thin. Still, it may be a surprise how thin it is.

The following, as near as we can tell, is the complete list of contents and elaborations that refer to “mean” or “median” or similar, and thus might (and still might not) require at least some mental or written computation. In other words, these are the only items we could find that seem to not simply be a matter of tabulating or “exploring” or “investigating” or “analysing”, the only items that consist of anything more than sitting around and chatting about stuff.

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New Cur 19: Turning Japanese

This is a short one and, necessarily, is WitCH-like. It is an elaboration in the new Curriculum that smelled wrong to us. We checked enough to confirm there was sufficient wrongness for the elaboration to be added to the Awfulnesses list, but we haven’t sorted it out further. The comments may be interesting (or non-existent).

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New Cur 18: To be two, or not to be 2

This one may be of little interest to others, but it’s been bugging us.

A peculiar puzzle of writing mathematics is deciding when to use names and when to use numerals: should we write “two” or “2”? There is no one (1?) answer, and there are conflicting principles. Along with other rules, English style guides instruct that names should be used for small numbers, and numerals for large (with varying interpretations of “small” and “large”).

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