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The learning and teaching of mathematics - Essay Example

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The learning and teaching of mathematics

The paper tells that decimal notation is a crisis experienced by children in mathematics. The researcher has faced instances where some children are unable to distinguish between small and large values when presented with decimal points. When the subject of decimals is first introduced to primary school children, there is a general belief that when the number is long, the value is high. This means that there is an existing problem in the ability to differentiate the values of digits with decimal points. For example, when the researcher ask children to assign the number with the highest values between 5.555, 5.55 and 5.5, 5.555 is given as the answer. The reasons children give are arguably connected to the way they view whole numbers and denote decimal points. This trend can be explained by a number of misconceptions in decimal notation. There is a general belief that numbers with more digits represent high values than those with small values. 5.555 is believed to have a large value than 5.5 because 5.555 has four digits that make the number look bigger, and 5.5 has two digits that make the number look smaller. While this explanation may be true in some cases, several combination of numbers may not adhere to the misconception. For example, in differentiating between 0.12, 0.111 and 0.1012, children pick 0.1012 as the number with the greatest value because 0.12 has three digits, 0.111 has four and 0.1012 has five, hence, the more the number of the digits, the higher the value of the number. In reality, 0.12 has a higher value compared to 0.1012. ...Show more


This paper develops a critical analysis of different kinds of literature on the teaching of mathematics compared to school teaching and learning experiences. To achieve this, this paper will be limited to the teaching of decimals to primary school children aged 5/6 to 10/11 years old.

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The learning and teaching of mathematics essay example
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