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The trouble with zero


Lewis, R, The trouble with zero, Australian Mathematics Teacher, 71, (3) pp. 20-21. ISSN 0045-0685 (2015) [Professional, Refereed Article]

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Maybe you, like me, have always had it instilled in you that you do not divide by zero or nasty things may happen? Some confusion still surrounds the number zero, particularly in using it in division.

You might never have questioned why you cannot divide by zero, or been asked to explain why itís a mortal sin. Why would you? Itís fairly obvious, but the fairly obvious is always difficult to explain. How can we explain this concept to children in a method that is easily grasped and learnt? The purpose of this short article is to demonstrate a few pedagogy methods to show children the trouble that zero can cause. Some concepts appear trivial at first glance, but look closer and one begins to think deeply about some of our long held truths about zero.

Item Details

Item Type:Professional, Refereed Article
Keywords:Zero, mathematical concepts, pedagogy
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Creative arts, media and communication curriculum and pedagogy
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Pedagogy
UTAS Author:Lewis, R (Mr Robert Lewis)
ID Code:103189
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Centre for University Pathways and Partnerships
Deposited On:2015-09-24
Last Modified:2015-09-30

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