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New Maths

New Maths is the name commonly given to a set of teaching practises introduced in the USA shortly after the Sputnik crisis in order to boost scientific education and mathematical skill in the population, so that the intellectual threat of the skilled Russian engineers, reputedly highly skilled mathematicians, could be met.

Beginning in the early 1960s the new educational doctrine was installed, not only in the USA, but all over the western hemisphere.

The main focus of this programme seems to have been on set theory, functions and diagram[?] drawings. It was stressed that these subjects should be introduced early.

Some of this focus was exaggerated. For example, first-graders were taught axiomatic set theory in some cases. The idea behind this was that if the axiomatic foundations of mathematics was introduced to children, they could "easily" cope with the theorems of the mathematical system later.

Tom Lehrer wrote a satirical song named New Math making fun of the more absurd aspects of New Maths.



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