Tag Archives: math

Math Is Not Linear

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Okay, I know this doesn’t have much to do with the main subjects of this blog, but in addition to everything else I tutor middle school kids in math. Not very complicated math—I excel at introducing algebraic concepts to 5th and 6th graders, while helping them understand fractions and decimals. I am not a math pro by any means (I wilt at the sight of logarithms) but I love helping kids figure out how to approach and solve problems.

One of the first things I tell my students and their parents is that every single kind of math was invented to help solve a problem. Math is not just a blunt weapon designed to hasten children’s introduction to nihilism. It actually has a point, and that is to help people look at a problem, figure out what they need to know in order to solve it, and then go about finding a solution, step by step. Mathematical thinking—logic, pattern recognition, decoding—is really creative thinking.

The presentation below is made with a super cool new technology that will make PowerPoint obsolete one of these days. If you’ve never seen it before, head over to Prezi.com and see how it works. It takes a while to load, but when it does just use the right arrow button to forward the presentation. To see a full screen version, click on “More” and then choose full screen. Thanks to Alison Blank, the creator, for beautifully illustrating/animating one of my favorite education rants!