Rethinking Math – getting the numbers right or solving problems

Rethinking Math – getting the numbers right or solving problems

In the TV-series Numbers Professor of Mathematics, Charlie Eppes is helping FBI to solve crimes with his Omvärderar Matematik – Lägga Siffrorna Rätt Eller Lösa Problemspecial knowledge and skills. One can perhaps question the TV-series title since the core is not the numbers in itself but how to use them to solve in this case crimes. But it could be practically anything in the society and nature. Below is a scene from Numbers about the Game Theory and the principle of prisoners dilemma put in practice:

Real world and formulas

Math teacher Dan Meyer claims the following in the TEDTalk below:

“I encourage math teachers I talk to, to use multimedia, because it brings the real world into your classroom in high resolution and full color; to encourage student intuition for that level playing field; to ask the shortest question you possibly can and let those more specific questions come out in conversation; to let students build the problem, because Einstein said so.”

This something e.g. Kahn Academy has acknowledged and built an excellent multimedia platform for learning and teaching mathematics.

“Eureka! I’ve got it.” Archimedes

Mathematics is for most people not that inspiring. Everybody remember going through the textbook formulas and peeking in the answer-section. It was boring. But what if you turn the perspective not to focus on numbers and formulas, but real-world problems in order to find a solution or prove a point of view, like Professor Eppes that was mentioned in the introduction. Then you can probably get out of the old school classroom’s prisoners dilemma and learn to find your own solutions and make up your own mind with help from numbers and formulas. That is very inspiring! Please look at Dan Meyers interesting TEDTalk below.

This was the first part of two about rethinking Math-education. The perspective on 2nd part origins from one of the main educational trends today.

Written by
LarsGöran Boström©

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