### Mathematics and the Real World

I read the following article regarding mathematics education:

Study Suggests Scrapping Balls and Slices

I agree with the fundemantals of research, teaching mathematical concepts through concrete applications doesn't work, but using concrete applications to *deepen* understanding may work. I agree that teaching the abstract principles should come first, but to fully *understand* the principles and understand how to *use* the principles one should use a mix of abstract and concrete problems. Mr. Sloutsky alluded to this in his statement: "[Word] problems could be an incredible instrument for testing what was learned. But they are bad instruments for teaching,".

I believe that the first purpose of word problems is not to *teach* the principles, but to teach problem solving *using* the principles. Word problems should be justified as a way to "stretch" your mental problem solving muscle, to challenge your thinking to grow, and to teach and reinforce the type of thinking beneficial in mathematics.

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