The Problem of Simplification in School Mathematics

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Kwaku Adu-GyamfiEast Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina

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Michael. J. BosséAppalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina

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Ronald PrestonEast Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina

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Derek A. WilliamsMontana State University in Bozeman

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The notion or expectation of simplifying final mathematical results remains problematic in that it is ill-defined, tied more closely to algorithmic versus conceptual understanding, and decontextualized from the content, purpose, and application of the mathematics in question. Through examples, we propose that simplification needs to be contextualized.

Footnotes

The notion of simplifying mathematical results remains ill-defined and problematic, but we can redefine and contextualize this concept to transform it into a tool that empowers students to find the most useful and meaningful form of an expression.

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Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching PK-12
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