College students will be reading the writings of Euclid and Archimedes in math class under an experiment funded by the National Science Foundation.
The idea could spread to high school math classroooms, writes Liana Heitin in Education Week. Reading primary sources is very Common Core-ish.
The idea is that “understanding the origins of important mathematical concepts will help students fully grasp and remember them later, and that exploring mathematicians’ motivations will be inspiring for students,” writes Heitin.
With primary sources, “you see why people want to study math, what problems it was designed to solve,” said Jerry Lodder, a mathematical sciences professor at New Mexico State University, who is working on the grant project. “You don’t see that if you just look at the algorithmic model.”
About 50 math professors will use the new lessons. Their students’ growth will be compared to results in nonparticipating math classes.
Math teachers, is this an idea worth trying? A fad?