Loading…

Mathematics in the Liberal Arts Tradition

While today math teachers often struggle to convince their students of the usefulness of the discipline, the tradition famously advocated the study of mathematics for a completely different reason. The ancients and Medieval believed the study of mathematics to play a crucial role in developing wisdom and the faculty of human reason in students. But in order for this study to truly develop the mind, it must be taught in a soul-shaping manner and not merely as a collection of useful algorithms. This session will explore how teachers in 7th-12th grade mathematics can teach in a richer manner that cultivates the soul through a pedagogy of puzzle, proof, and play. In the light of these themes we will reevaluate the role of the Cartesian coordinate system, the interface between geometry and algebra, and the role of models and manipulatives in higher math such as Calculus. We will also explore how a properly re-situated mathematics naturally opens to questions of transcendence and even God as it did for Plato, Augustine, Pascal, and Descartes. Join us to delve more deeply into mathematics in the liberal arts tradition.