Monday, September 18, 2006

Cool things about MATH

I thought I would share some of the cool things I’m learning while watching my 10 year old’s “basic math” course with her. (“Watching” a basic math “course?” You might wonder. I’ll defend my silliness in another post.)

Did you know that the sign for multiplication (the little line with a dot on top and underneath) actually symbolizes a fraction? I had never heard of such a thing, but it makes so much sense. AND in a multiplication problem the remainder is always the numerator when you express the problem in fraction form. I guess when my teachers taught me math (they had their work cut out for them) they never used mathematical language. Math is so deep and rich if you go beyond the memorization of steps to get an outcome. I was just told HOW to solve mathematical problems; how to get a correct answer with little regard for the layers and layers of conceptual information that could be pointed out and used to further expand my knowledge and understanding of math!

When I compare Kelsey’s experience with formal math to my experience I feel joy. I feel a sense of freedom for her that I didn’t feel: the freedom to do in life what you want to do without being limited by your mathematical ability. The freedom to declare a major without concern for the math requirements… Ok, she’s just 10. But, she did factor trinomials with her brother when she was 9…. (that's really just basic math)

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