Math is about creating ideas - Deepstash

Math is about creating ideas

Like art, the purpose of math is the creation of patterns. And the material we use to create patterns is ideas. Math then belongs to the realm of fiction. For example, we can imagine a geometric shape with perfect edges, knowing that it could never exist in the real world. Then we can ask questions about it and create explanations.

Yet, when we teach math, we aim to repeat the steps of someone else's creation without asking how they got there, or why.

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MORE IDEAS FROM Why Math Class Is Boring—and What to Do About It

Why math classes are dull

Math is often seen as something you get or you don't. Most of us sit in class feeling like we don't. The fault is not with the subject itself but rather with the way we teach it. Mathematician Paul Lockhart wrote a 25-page essay titled "A Mathematician's Lament", wherein he states that students who feel that their mathematics classes are boring are right.

The true nature of math is art. Unfortunately, we wrongly teach it in a way that would just as easily ruin any other art.

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Consider what music or painting would look like if we treat it like the typical math curriculum.

  • What if music education was all about theory, dots and lines that make up the language of music? What if playing and listening to music was put off until college?
  • Or, what if art students had to spend years only studying paints and brushes? Then they do pre-paint-by numbers to prepare them for the main paint-by number sequence. From there, only the students who know their colours and brushes get to actually paint.

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An education in the art of mathematics is all about discovery. It means solving a problem that speaks to us at that point in time. It is a slow and thoughtful process. But, of course, it is much simpler to post a set of rules than to guide an artist. 

Mathematics should be something we do because it is an interesting and challenging way of teaching ourselves new ways of thinking and expressing ourselves.

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RELATED IDEA

The natural talents and skills of youngsters are quickly dashed at school, where they are told by parents and teachers that they aren't that smart, based on the prevailing metrics of measurement.

It is a myth that our brains are fixed and we cannot learn about new topics, something that negatively impacts education.

Learning can take place at any age and has no racial or gender stereotypes.

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Dancing

It is the physical expression through movement and rhythm of relationships, feelings and ideas.

Dance can help restore joy and stability in troubled lives and ease the tensions in schools disrupted by violence and bullying.

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The Pen And Paper

Even in this digital age, when automation is in full force and being swift on the keyboard is a crucial skill, using your hand and pencil is still on top of the charts for cognitive learning.

Every student of all age groups has one cognitive toolkit with them: a pen and a notebook, to be able to take notes by hand. Handwritten notes are an important and powerful practice to infuse information in the brain, making it easier to retrieve information when required.

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