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100 Questions about Mathematics for Discussion and Reflection

I had, at one point, ambitious plans. After the release of Mathematics for Human Flourishing (Math4HF) in January, I was going to write a blog post about each chapter, one per week, and assemble a study guide for those who were reading the book in a class or as part of a discussion group. Yes, every blog post was going to be deep and profound, and each would bring readers to a new level of understanding about the practices of math.


How silly. That is a surefire way to squelch the desire to write. It's way too much pressure.


And then the pandemic hit. Just trying to keep on top of the mad rush to pivot to online teaching, I had no energy to do anything additional. Then summer came, I had a baby, and... you know how the rest of the story goes.


I finally had some time to come back to it, but scaled back my plans. Instead of a series of blog posts, I assembled 100 questions about mathematics (that extend the ones you can find in an appendix to the book), and I put them on the Math4HF webpage:


Discussion & Resources.


These questions are tied to the themes of the book, but many of them don't require one to have read the book. So you might find them useful as starting points for a discussion, or as prompts for an essay. As I've written about earlier, reflection questions are great ways to think more deeply about the virtues of mathematics and recognize the larger goals of learning. For teachers, such questions are useful formative assessment that can help students see that you value more than just specific skills, but that you are developing them into mathematically-minded human beings. In the pandemic era, they can provide meaningful ways to broaden what you assess.



On that page, I've also assembled some further readings to explore, related to each chapter. One of the gems there is a list of "actionable references", compiled by my friend Ben Braun, that contain concrete ideas for actions you can take to make the themes and aspirations in Math4HF a reality. I've heard from who are doing book discussion clubs or are using the book as a text for a course---if you develop reading lists, I'd be happy to consider linking to them as well.


And in case you missed my tweets earlier, I also made another webpage containing the endnotes from Math4HF, with clickable links, so you can dive into the references as you read.


Enjoy,

Francis

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"A good book is an entertaining read.
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© 2020 by Francis Edward Su