Ciência & Educação (Bauru)
Print version ISSN 1516-7313
MEDEIROS, Cleide Farias de and MEDEIROS, Alexandre. The false position method in history and in mathematics education. Ciênc. educ. (Bauru) [online]. 2004, vol.10, n.3, pp. 545-557. ISSN 1516-7313. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-73132004000300016.
This text is a historical perspective on the early algebraic approach that is usually applied to the elementary teaching of Arithmetic. By arguing that such an initial algebraic treatment contains several drawbacks for elementary education, the ‘false position method' is discussed and is presented as a viable alternative for such introductory teaching. By pointing out the historical roots of the method, the text tries to make clear several ways of visualising this iterative procedure. This is done by incorporating the use of manipulatives and geometrical applications as well as the use of numerical calculus as an iterative procedure for solving linear equations. Although one conclusion is that in its simpler form this method does not constitute any substitute for the modern symbolic algebraic resolution of equations and linear systems, it certainly represents a valuable springboard to reach a more formalised study. Particularly, the false position method is a very useful pedagogical tool in mathematics education, mainly when it is interwoven with its initial concrete approaches and its associations with geometry and analytical geometry.
Keywords : History and Mathematics Education; Arithmetic; Method of False Position; Elementary Iterative Processes.