The Problem of Simplification in School Mathematics

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  • 1 East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina
  • | 2 Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina
  • | 3 Montana State University in Bozeman

The notion or expectation of simplifying final mathematical results remains problematic in that it is ill-defined, tied more closely to algorithmic versus conceptual understanding, and decontextualized from the content, purpose, and application of the mathematics in question. Through examples, we propose that simplification needs to be contextualized.

Notes

The notion of simplifying mathematical results remains ill-defined and problematic, but we can redefine and contextualize this concept to transform it into a tool that empowers students to find the most useful and meaningful form of an expression.

Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching PK-12
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