Who are we writing for?
What we said to NSF
- [Math Images] will contribute a resource that can provide the general public with enriched understanding of what mathematics actually is while serving as both an instructional resource for classroom work at all levels, and a new vehicle for student projects.
- a long-range goal is the continued development of a dynamic site, Math Images, designed to reposition the general public’s conceptions of mathematics as a science of patterns, not just formulas and numbers.
- There are many thousands of images on the web that are based on mathematics, and experience has shown that many people find them interesting and attractive. Typically, these images are “authored”— someone put each image on the web and provided some information about it. The process of providing mathematical explanations for such images is educational. Were such images documented and widely available, they could be used by others and might help dispel the broadly held conception of mathematics as simply being about numbers, formulas, algorithms, and right answers.
Our group discussion. Your comments, please
- 1) Who are we writing for? A kid who likes math but is bored with his class, or a kid struggling to understand the math? Our students would like us to clarify our intended audience(s).
- 2) The person profiting from the Basic Description section and the More Math section may be very different, so it may be impossible for the two sections to appeal equally well to readers.
- 3) Some students may have no intrinsic interest in math. Some school teachers apparently find that most of their students lack any interest. While I agree it's important to try and interest kids who aren't interested in math, I think it's appropriate to write the More Mathematical Explanation with the assumption that the reader is interested and won't abandon ship at the first hint of complicated symbols or ideas. What do you think? People seemed to agree. Second thoughts?