If you can't share a good story about the math you know, do you really understand it?
Ask a child or an adult about a movie they have seen, and they will eagerly share stories about the exciting moments, the plot twists, and how they felt about the experience. Ask the same child or adult about a math idea they learned in school and you will reluctantly get a list of facts. Where did all the math stories go? Why are children and adults not sharing them with one another?
You might be thinking, "What do stories have to do with math?"
Stories are a big part of being human: we think in terms of stories, we understand the world in terms of stories we know, we learn by living and accommodating new stories and we define ourselves through the stories we share. Our lives make sense when shaped into narrative form.
Without stories, math becomes too literal, too boring to be worthy of our attention. Who really wants to spend 10 or more years studying a subject they can't talk about as a good story?
Ask a child or an adult about parallel lines, and the typical response will be a few facts, such as "Parallel lines are straight, and they never meet." But if we step back and notice the sphere on which we live, we will discover more interesting stories about straight lines on a curved surface and parallel lines that meet at the poles. Wouldn't it be great if we could share such stories, to flex our imagination and see math in fresh light?
"Look! I can hold infinity in my hand!"
"Did you know that odd numbers hide in squares?"
Which "math universe" do you prefer?
View the grade 4 video below. Which "math universe " do you prefer? If you prefer the one on the right, then our free DO MATH courses are for you!
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The activities in our math courses have been classroom-tested in several elementary schools and in teacher education settings, over a period of more than six years.
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