"Symbols and Meanings in School Mathematics" explores the various uses and aspects of symbols in school mathematics and also examines the notion of mathematical meaning. It is concerned with the power of language which enables us to do mathematics, giving us the ability to name and rename, to transform names and to use names and description to conjure, communicate and control our images. It is in the interplay between language, image and object that mathematics is created and can be communicated to others.
One theme which runs throughout the book is the core metaphor of manipulation. Practical apparatus is known as manipulatives, some recent computer software is called symbolic manipulators, and we are taught to manipulate numbers, algebraic expressions and geometric figures and images.
The book also addresses a set of questions of particular relevance to the last decade of the twentieth century, which arise due to the proliferation of machines offering mathematical functioning.
"Pimm... provides a critical reeaxamination of common uses of manipultives, images, calculators, computers, graphic representations, "real world" contexts for math problems, and conflicting or confusing terms used in math instruction.... a great stimulus for thought and discussion among math educators and cognitive psychologists interested in how children learn mathematics.."
"Of interest to teachers and education researchers."
-"Sci Tech Book News
"David Pimm demands our thoughtful attention to the meaning of symbols, images, icons, and words, and how these connect to give meanings to mathematics."
-"McGill Journal of Education
"I recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with curriculum development as well as to those practitioners who need to develop a comfort level with their present practices... the writing caused me to be more reflective about both my department's and my own teaching practices."