The teaching and learning of probabilistic thinking

Heuristic, informal and fallacious reasoning

Authored by: Egan J. Chernoff , Bharath Sriraman

The Routledge International Handbook of Research on Teaching Thinking

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415747493
eBook ISBN: 9781315797021
Adobe ISBN: 9781317752301

10.4324/9781315797021.ch30

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Abstract

The teaching and learning of the majority of topics found in mathematics classrooms concurrently provides an opportunity to teach (mathematical) heuristics, which, according to the eminent mathematician George Polya (1954), are the mental operations useful for understanding the process of solving problems. The teaching and learning of combinatorics, as an example, further lends itself to the “Do you know a related problem?” heuristic: individuals tasked with determining “How many ways can x individuals sit around a table?” rely on the result and, to an extent, the method for determining the related problem of “How many ways can x individuals sit in a row?” Stated in more general terms, the teaching and learning of the majority of topics in mathematics classrooms lends itself to the teaching and learning of thinking and, as a domain of research, is well established.

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