Some time ago, the Grade 6 math teachers at Nueva asked if I might be able to offer some understanding to the concepts of "combination" and "permutation" through a structured word inquiry of these words.
This turned out to be a real treat for me since through my investigation to prepare, I came across all sorts of new discoveries that never would have occured to me otherwise. Who knew that <combination> and <binary> are morphologiacal relatives?
More to the point, for the first time I have a good understanding of each of the terms I was asked to investigate, and the subtle but important differences. A key confusion I discovered is that we have long been misled by the term "combination lock". Once you understand structure and history of these terms, you will understand that, mathematically speaking, we should refer to these devices as "permutation locks".
I created a document that I worked thorugh the class with to investigate these words. While it is not really intended as a stand alone document, if you are interested in these words, you can use this document to guide your own research.
I've included a screen shot of one part of the document.
Click HERE to download the full document.