As a San Diego State professor, Nicholas Branca worked with thousands of U.S. math teachers to help them move away from arithmetic drills and toward more problem solving and conceptual thinking. He died of a heart attack last month at the age of 65. "One of his gifts with teachers was to help them see that there are a lot of different ways to solve problems," said Nadine Bezuk, a San Diego math professor. "It really all centers around the [idea] that ... all kids are capable of doing mathematics, not just the elite few."

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