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Protest: No More = !

Two British educators--Stephanie Prestage and Pat Perks--want to ban the equals sign. And their argument makes some sense...I will try to do it justice.

In arithmetic, 2+3 tells the person to do something...and you basically replace the 2+3 by 5. Thus, here 2+3=5 is a record of what you did.

In algebra, 2+x is "a number, there is nothing to do, the operation of addition is not an instruction to do something." Even in the context of 2+x = 6, we see this as an equality and nothing to do...on the surface level.

When introducing a student to algebra, Prestage and Perks suggest: "Don't start with equations! Ban the equal sign and work with expressions--creating them, reading them, writing them, and ordering them...." The informal idea of equality will develop as a side process.

Your thoughts?

Source: Mathematics Teaching, September 2005, pp. 3-5