Tools, tasks and mathematics


Prof. John Monaghan, University of Agder, Norway and University of Leeds, UK


The talk will be in 4 parts:

  • I will first provide a short clarification of the terms ‘tools’ and ‘tasks’.
  • I will then look at the mathematics privileged/afforded by different tools in one task (bisect an angle); this will be based on Chapter 2 of Monaghan, Trouche,& Borwein (2016). This will be the longest part of my talk; in a nutshell my theme will be that the tool we use to do mathematics is very important to the mathematics we do.
  • I will then talk about about ‘experimental mathematics’ and present one possible high school experimental mathematics task. (Chapter 3 of Monaghan et al., 2016 provides more detail on experimental mathematics)
  • Niels Grønbæk and Carl Winsløw will then give their reactions to the idea of experimental mathematics at the school level.

I hope we will finish in time to have a discussion that involves the audience.


Monaghan, J., Trouche, L., & Borwein, J. M. (2016). Tools and mathematics: Instruments for learning. New York: Springer