
06494830
j
2015f.00445
Findlay, Robert A.
The `flipping coins' problem  in relation to thinking mathematically.
Math. Teach. (Derby) 239, 1620 (2014).
2014
Association of Teachers of Mathematics (ATM), Derby
EN
D50
M10
problem solving
mathematical thinking
mathematical ability
problem solving strategies
visualisation
graphical representations
modes of representation
pattern recognition
notation
algebraic expressions
algorithms
Summary: The author describes the `highs and lows' of mathematical investigation. A teacher of chemistry and a teacher of mathematics tackle the same problem. The scientist is stereotypically a pragmatist in approach and solution, whereas the mathematician is thorough in his approach and questioning of any solution. The author, a student, begins by observing the investigation, then finds that he becomes so involved that he just `can't leave it alone'. From deriving a suitable notation to trying out different forms of representation the search for a solution became all absorbing. This is an honest account, documenting both success and failure, blind alleys and alleys that just might be going somewhere. Then, as is often the case, the solution appeared to be simple.