SLATES, SLIDE RULERS, AND SOFTWARE--TEACHING MATH IN AMERICA
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By the late 1980s, advances in computers and calculators, combined with new patterns of work and demographic changes, persuaded many mathematics educators that reforms were in order. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics proposed new standards for mathematics education. To train students in problem solving along lines suggested by the standards of the NCTM, Paul Hartung devised this set of puzzles for classroom use.  

 

 
Mathbox learning system - Click To Enlarge
MATHBOX LEARNING SYSTEM

 

 

Objects retain an active place in elementary education. Caleb Gattegno, who popularized Cuisenaire rods, argued that young children could learn basic information about geometric patterns by outlining them with rubber bands on a grid of nails in a board. “Geoboards” made of plastic are now widely used in the United States. This example (below; left) was used at a school in Connecticut.

 

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Geoboard - Click To Enlarge
GEOBOARD
 
Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center - Click To Enlarge
SMITHSONIAN EARLY
ENRICHMENT CENTER

 

In the 1990s, enrollments at preschools boomed. Both parents and teachers purchased a wide array of manipulatives for teaching basic principles of mathematics.

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The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, Behring Center