Portland State University Discrete Mathematics Seminar

Spring 2016: Neuberger Hall 373, Thursdays, 4pm–5pm (previous quarters)

May 19, 2016

Elise Lockwood, Oregon State University
Subtleties of the multiplication principle

The multiplication principle is fundamental to combinatorics, underpinning many standard formulas and providing justification for counting strategies. Given its importance, the way it is presented in textbooks is surprisingly varied. In this talk, I identify key elements of the principle and present a categorization of statement types found in a textbook analysis. I also incorporate excerpts from a reinvention study that shed light on how students reason through these key elements. Findings from both the textbook analysis and the reinvention study reveal surprisingly subtle aspects of the multiplication principle. I conclude with a number of potential mathematical and pedagogical implications for the teaching and learning of the principle.

June 2, 2016

Edward Hanson, SUNY New Paltz