Mathematics is a beautiful, open, creative, and multi-dimensional subject. But school mathematics is often uninspiring, procedural and one-dimensional – it is all about memorizing methods and procedures. The narrowness of the mathematics taught in schools is one of the reasons so many students disengage from mathematics. One-dimensional mathematics is not the mathematics of the world and it is not the mathematics of our 21st century workplace.
So what is multidimensional mathematics? It is real mathematics. Let’s consider the work of a mathematician: She first has to pose an important problem, then map out a mathematical approach, she will probably collaborate with others on ideas, and engage in what Lakatos describes as a zig-zagging process of conjecturing, refining counter examples and proving. She has to form a mathematical model, apply methods, draw diagrams, connect ideas, reason about connections and communicate in different forms. The work is multidimensional. When mathematics is taught as a multidimensional subject in classrooms students engage more, enjoy math more and achieve at higher levels.