Is Math Invented or Discovered? (8/28/14)

We had a FANTASTIC discussion today after our warm-up question was whether math is invented or discovered. Students took both positions and gave some great arguments supporting their view. I of course played devil’s advocate and pushed back on pretty much everything, and we ended up debating whether or not numbers existed during the days of cavemen. Students responded with “Awwwww” when I told them we needed to move on. Winning!!!

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2 thoughts on “Is Math Invented or Discovered? (8/28/14)

  1. ahhh, this is basically my first unit with my students! the unit is titled “What’s in a Number?” and the statement of inquiry is “We invented the language of math but the universe invented its rules,” with our debatable inquiry question being “To what extent is math natural and to what extent have humans invented and organized numbers?: Did we make up math or does it simply exist?”

    we start next week and i can’t wait! i hope we can have an equally good discussion as you had with your students!

    1. That’s awesome Kate! It’s great to get the kids thinking about numbers in a different way and thinking about a lot of the underlying ideas we take for granted. I hope the start of your year goes great!

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