This story is picked from AMS’ Math in Media:
The interparietal sulcus also shows up in a New York Times article (December 20, 2009): “Studying Young Minds, and How to Teach Them.” There Benedict Carey explains how “findings, mostly from a branch of research called cognitive neuroscience, are helping to clarify when young brains are best able to grasp fundamental concepts.” He quotes Kurt Fisher, director of the Mind, Brain and Education program at Harvard: “… for the first time we are seeing the fields of brain science and education work together.” In mathematics, this means starting early to develop children’s innate apprehension of number (see previous item) into the precise tool they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. “By preschool, the brain can handle larger numbers and is struggling to link three crucial concepts: physical quantities (seven marbles, seven inches) with abstract digit symbols (“7”), with the corresponding number words (“seven” ).” To show us how this works, Carey takes us into a classroom in Buffalo where Mrs. Pat Andzel is leading her preschoolers, over and over in different and often entertaining contexts, through the algorithm of counting: the name of the number of things in some set is the last word you pronounce when you count them. “Many of these kids don’t understand that yet,” she says.
I feel an instinctive disagreement with this “algorithm”; I bet, as a child, I would not understand it. And what are you feelings?