Of Pine and Palm: Mathematics Class 9 and 10: A Rudolf Steiner Approach: Prologue

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Of Pine and Palm: Mathematics Class 9 and 10: A Rudolf Steiner Approach: Prologue

By Alan Whitehead

Copyright Alan Whitehead & Earthschooling: No Part of this book, post, URL, or book excerpt may be shared with anyone who has not paid for these materials. You may share a direct link to any public posts (like this one) on this website.

 “Mysticism is also known as mathesis, for in mathematics none can differ from someone else in his opinions – can never disagree over a mathematical axiom.” – Rudolf Steiner

As an educator, Rudolf Steiner was an ‘integrationist’, an advocate of interweaving and complementing of school subjects. He taught that, through the vehicle of creativity, teachers could bring harmonizing and mutual benefits to subjects as (apparently) disparate math and music, physics and painting, and grammar and games, by a process of synthesis rather than fragmentation. Nowhere is this more vital that in the teaching of math; the study of number in isolation is as currently futile as trying to know the individuality of some long-dead soul by studying their skull. In this spirit, Of Pine and Palm follows a long path of math awakening through many life areas where numeracy is both integrated and applied, like astronomy, commerce, and surveying. There are four dedicated math units in a Steiner high school syllabus, comprising three main lessons and one middle. Naturally, math enters many other of the 180 or so 3-week units taught through the five <or four if starting at 9th grade> years of high school. These four math units total about 113 hours of teaching per year.

As Steiner is a universal non-exam -curriculum, a student may not acquire the depth of math knowledge and/or skills as their peers who select math as one of their electives in high school – but they will certainly learn a lot more than students who don’t take math at all <or decide to stop at the ‘required’ algebra> – and there are legions of these, math being one of the least popular subjects in schools. In the cultural sense, the question is, “If I don’t need it, I shouldn’t have to learn it!” becomes irrelevant.

The principle goal of education – a preparation for life, in all its prismatic variety, is to stimulate love, or at least respect, for the subject. In Steiner, it is always a case of the heart taking primacy over the head. I would consider it a failure if, as a result of my math teaching, I had clever students, but ones who hated the subject. Preferable in contributing to whole-person development would be someone who, although perhaps knowing less, was stimulated to take into life the desire to learn more about the wonderful world of numbers.

May Of Pine and Palm enthuse its readers to realize this worthy goal in the teaching of the young people in their care.

<Note from Kristie: This being said I can say that looking through the chapters of this book has me in awe. I’m not sure what programs he is comparing to when using the words “more” and “less” – perhaps honor’s math or advanced math? All I know is that this book contains more advanced math than I’ve seen introduced in mainstream high schools I’m familiar with and it presents it in the most beautiful way! I would be confident sending my child off to college even after going through half of this book and this book is only the first of two,he has written on the subject. The next book covers 11th and 12th grade math!>
What we will be covering in this book…

Ninth Grade

Main Lessons – Mathematics (Head)

Body Soul Spirit
Geometry Finance Numeracy
Trigonometry Math in Small Business Probability Function

Middle Lessons – Numeracy (Chest)

Time & Motion


Tenth Grade

Main Lessons

Body Soul Spirit
Geometry Finance Numeracy
Math in Astronomy & Navigation Math in Economics Math in Surveying

Middle Lessons

Body Soul Spirit
Computer Math “Pi in the Sky” “Pi in the Sky”

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