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School Mathematics Project

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Title: School Mathematics Project  
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Subject: New Math, Mathematics education
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School Mathematics Project

The School Mathematics Project is a developer of mathematics textbooks for secondary schools, based in Southampton in the UK.

Now generally known as SMP, it began as a research project inspired by a 1961 conference chaired by Bryan Thwaites at the University of Southampton, which itself was precipitated by calls to reform mathematics teaching in the wake of the Sputnik launch by the Soviet Union, the same circumstances which prompted the wider New Math movement.[1] It maintains close ties with the Collaborative Group for Research in Mathematics Education at the university.

SMP was revolutionary in its approach as it kindled fascination in students for mathematics, moving many away from an earlier rejection of mathematics brought on by more rigid and traditional approaches. Instead of dwelling on traditional areas such as arithmetic and geometry, SMP dwelt on set theory, graph theory and logic. It taught non-cartesian co-ordinate systems, matrix mathematics, affine transforms, vectors and non-decimal number systems.

It was remarkably prescient in bringing out those areas of mathematics necessary for formal computer science, especially theoretical artificial intelligence. The formal Artificial Intelligence group at University College London, which specialises in argumentation, for example, leverages the SMP-taught subjects of set theory, graph theory and logic. The computer graphics work at UCL and elsewhere employs non-cartesian co-ordinate systems, matrix mathematics and affine transforms.

The SMP is now a registered charity, and continues to publish textbooks in association with Cambridge University Press for GCSE and both AQA and Edexcel A-level exams. It also publishes a popular educational comic called "Mathematical Mike and his Dog Dingle." One of the challenges encountered by SMP was the UK's move to increasingly rigid dictation of syllabus content, especially under the New Labour Government of 1997.

The computer paper tape motif on early educational material reads "THE SCHOOL MATHEMATICS PROJECT DIRECTED BY BRYAN THWAITES".

   O O   O        O    O  O OO    O   O  O    O  OO   O O  O O O
   O  O    OOOO O  O O  O     OO     O        O   O O  O  O    O
   0 0 0 0   OO O O OO O      O O O O  O OOO        O O O  OO  O
   O     OO OO           OO  OOO O    O O    O  OO  O   O    O O
   O   O OO OO  OO  OOO OOO   O OO   O OO O   O   OO    OOO OO O


  1. ^ "About the Collaborative Group for Research in Mathematics Education". Collaborative Group for Research in Mathematics Education. 

External links

  • SMP Maths
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