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The Teaching of Arithmetic: The Nature of the Problems

by David Eugene Smith - 1909

In no way has arithmetic changed as much of late years as in the nature of the problems and the arrangement of the material. The former has come about from two causes, (1) the needs of society, and (2) the study of child psychology. The latter, the arrangement of the material, has been determined almost entirely by psychological considerations. In this chapter it is proposed to speak briefly of the former, the nature of the problems. Within the last few years the question of the practical uses of arithmetic has been a vital one in educational circles, especially in Germany and America, resulting in a considerable literature upon the subject. These needs, while generally similar in various countries, differ more or less in details. Thus a country whose business was chiefly farming would need to emphasize agricultural problems; one that derived its wealth from its metals or its coal would emphasize mining; a manufacturing nation would find certain lines of problems of the factory peculiarly suited to its needs, while one that derived its wealth chiefly from shipping would require those relating to foreign commerce. The mathematical foundation would be the same in all cases, but the material content of the problem would vary. Now in America we are unusually cosmopolitan in our needs in this respect, ranking high in all these particulars save only (at present) in ocean traffic. We are therefore very fortunate in having at our disposal unlimited problem material that relates to our wide range of national resources and industries. The advantage of using this material instead of the obsolete inherited problems that came down to us from Italy, through England, ought to be so evident as to require no argument...

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 10 Number 1, 1909, p. 7-9
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11612, Date Accessed: 10/22/2019 12:50:32 PM

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