# Vandalism Essay Stpm Mathematics

Many of the issues raised by these essays are quite complex; no single essay provides a definitive resolution for any of these issues, and in fact, on some matters, some of the essayists disagree. Collectively, these essays point toward a vision of mathematics education that simultaneously considers the needs of all students. *High School Mathematics at Work*, however, unlike many documents produced by the National Research Council, is not a consensus document. The intent of this document is to point out some mathematical possibilities that are provided by today's world and to discuss some of the issues involved—not to resolve the issues, but to put forward some individual and personal perspectives that may contribute to the discussion.

Under each theme, the essays are accompanied by several tasks that illustrate some of the points raised in those essays, though many of the tasks could appropriately fit under several of the themes. The tasks serve as examples of where today's world can provide good contexts for good mathematics. They never were intended to represent, or even suggest, a full menu of high school mathematics. They provide possibilities for teaching. They exemplify central mathematical ideas and simultaneously convey the explanatory power of mathematics to help us make sense of the world around us. This book offers an existence proof: one can make connections between typical high school mathematics content and important problems from our everyday lives. And, it makes an important point: that the mathematics we learn in the classroom can and should help us to deal with the situations we encounter in our everyday lives. But *High School Mathematics at Work* is not only about relevance and utility. The mathematics involved is often generalizable; it often has aesthetic value, too. Mathematics can be beautiful, powerful, and useful. We hope you will discover all three of these virtues in some of the examples.

At a time when analysts of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) have characterized the K-12 mathematics curriculum as "a mile wide and an inch deep" (Schmidt, McKnight & Raizen, 1996) this report does not advocate that tasks like the ones in this volume merely augment the curriculum. Rather, it suggests that tasks like these can provide meaningful contexts for important mathematics we already teach, including both well-established topics such as exponential growth and proportional reasoning, as well as more recent additions to the curriculum, such as data analysis and statistics.

Collectively, these essays and tasks explore how mathematics supports careers that are both high in stature and widely in demand. By suggesting ways that mathematics education can be structured to serve the needs of all students, the Mathematical Sciences Education Board (MSEB) hopes to initiate, inform, and invigorate discussions of how and what might be taught to whom. To this end, *High School Mathematics at Work* is appropriate for a broad audience, including teachers, teacher educators, college faculty, parents, mathematicians, curriculum designers, superintendents, school board members, and policy makers—in short, anyone interested in mathematics education.

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