NCERT Mathematics Textbook for Class VIII
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Preface This is the final book of the upper primary series. It has been an interesting journey to define mathematics learning in a different way. The attempt has been to retain the nature of mathematics, engage with the question why learn mathematics while making an attempt to create materials that would address the interest of the learners at this stage and provide sufficient and approachable challenge to them. There have been many views on the purpose of school mathematics. These range from the fully utilitarian to the entirely aesthetic perceptions. Both these end up not engaging with the concepts and enriching the apparatus available to the learner for participating in life. The NCF emphasises the need for developing the ability to mathematise ideas and perhaps experiences as well. An ability to explore the ideas and framework given by mathematics in the struggle to find a richer life and a more meaningful relationship with the world around. This is not even easy to comprehend, far more difficult to operationalise. But NCF adds to this an even more difficult goal. The task is to involve everyone of that age group in the classroom or outside in doing mathematics. This is the aim we have been attempting to make in the series. We have, therefore, provided space for children to engage in reflection, creating their own rules and definitions based on problems tasks solved and following their ideas logically. The emphasis is not on remembering algorithms, doing complicated arithmetical problems or remembering proofs, but understanding how mathematics works and being able to identify the way of moving towards solving problems. The important concern for us has also been to ensure that all students at this stage learn mathematics and begin to feel confident in relating mathematics. We have attempted to help children read the book and to stop and reflect at each step where a new idea has been presented. In order to make the book less formidable we have included illustrations and diagrams. These combined with the text help the child comprehend the idea. Throughout the series and also therefore in this book we have tried to avoid the use of technical words and complex formulations. We have left many things for the student to describe and write in her own words. We have made an attempt to use child friendly language. To attract attention to some points blurbs have been used. The attempt has been to reduce the weight of long explanations by using these and the diagrams. The illustrations and fillers also attempt to break the monotony and provide contexts. Class VIII is the bridge to Class IX where children will deal with more formal mathematics. The attempt here has been to introduce some ideas in a way that is moving towards becoming formal. The tasks included expect generalisation from the gradual use of such language by the child. The team that developed this textbook consisted teachers with experience and appreciation of children learning mathematics. This team also included people with experience of research in mathematics teaching-learning and an experience of producing materials for children. The feedback on the textbooks for Classes VI and VII was kept in mind while developing this textbook. This process of development also included discussions with teachers during review workshop on the manuscript.
In the end, I would like to express the grateful thanks of our team to Professor Krishna Kumar, Director, NCERT, Professor G. Ravindra, Joint Director, NCERT and Professor Hukum Singh, Head, DESM, for giving us an opportunity to work on this task with freedom and with full support. I am also grateful to Professor J.V. Narlikar, Chairperson of the Advisory Group in Science and Mathematics for his suggestions. I am also grateful for the support of the team members from NCERT, Professor S.K. Singh Gautam, Dr V.P. Singh and in particular Dr Ashutosh K. Wazalwar who coordinated this work and made arrangements possible. In the end I must thank the Publication Department of NCERT for its support and advice and those from Vidya Bhawan who helped produce the book. It need not be said but I cannot help mentioning that all the authors worked as a team and we accepted ideas and advice from each other. We stretched ourselves to the fullest and hope that we