Math does not have to be difficult and boring. In these Ted talks, three mathematicians introduce us to the joys of math, their real world applications and how to make kids fall in love with the subject.
5 ways to share math with kids
In this talk, Dan Finkel, founder of Math for Love asks parents to introduce their kids to the adventure of math. Mathematics is not merely about following rules, he says, but asking questions, playing, exploring and sometimes even breaking things. He offers a five-step guide to bringing playfulness and joy into mathematical thinking. He says, “Teach them that not knowing is not failure. It’s the first step to understanding.”
Teaching kids real math with computers
Conrad Wolfram talk about the value of mathematics in “everyday living” and how our most thrilling creations are powered by it. So why is teaching it so tedious for kids? The way we are teaching math is irrelevant to real mathematics and the real world, he believes. He talks about teaching kids math through computer programming. He says, “So at one end we’ve got falling interest in education in math, and at the other end we’ve got a more mathematical world, a more quantitative world than we ever have had.” He addresses the notion that computers dumb maths down. He counters, “Why are we using computers to show a student how to solve a problem by hand that the computer should be doing anyway? All backwards.” He states, “We’re trying to cross the chasm here between school math and the real-world math.”
This company pays kids to do their math homework
Mohamad Jebara, founder and CEO of Mathspace worries that students grow up thinking of mathematics as tough and boring. As he explores the ethics of his company experimenting with paying students for doing their weekly math homework, he talks about why the subject is critical in the era of fake news. He believes that students need to stick around long enough to appreciate the beauty of math. Jebara says, “Mathematics is so much more than just a subject you study at school. It’s a human endeavor. It’s what helps us to understand the world around us. And the more you know, the more you want to know.”