What is Math?

When I first read the prompt, “What is Math?” I honestly had to think about what exactly that meant. I struggled to start writing. I knew math involved numbers, symbols, one-step equations, pi, Fibonacci sequences, calculus, matrices, etc. but I felt that I needed to provide a deeper response than just the surface of mathematics. When I hear math, I see my future of being a math teacher in the education field teaching students deeper conceptual understanding versus a pure procedural approach. I see math as a creator. Math has been used to create many incredible things in modern day, especially in the field of technology. Math can be/is considered a necessity for life. With out being able to do basic math as in knowing how many loaves of bread you can purchase with a ten dollar bill or the adding of fractions to double a recipe, life becomes very difficult. Not everyone has room for a calculator in their pocket (unless they have one on their phone, which was created by use of mathematics).

These are just a few of the ideas that come to mind when I hear the question, “What is Math?” But, what about where math came from? The history? This is an idea that I don’t know much about, and I look forward to learning through out the MTH 495 Capstone course. I did read a graphic novel during the semester of Fall 2013 named, “Logicomix” which was about a mathematician/logician by the name of Bertrand Russell who struggled to make sense of logic. Throughout the story it discussed names such as Euclid.

Some of the top 5 discoveries/moments in the world of mathematics in my eyes include the following:

1. The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus

2. The Pythagorean Theorem

3. Fibonacci Sequence

4. Math Specific Technology (online applets, calculators, computer programs, educational tools)

5. Pi

The five discoveries above are not in a specific order, these are just the 5 that I feel are important to mathematics and how we teach the subject. I don’t know exactly where these were first discovered or by who, but hopefully these are some of the topics we discuss throughout the course.



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