We hate math: Is it tools or the way we teach?

Chip Oglesby bio photo By Chip Oglesby

I had a great lunch yesterday with a local researcher from CSU with a PHD in mathematics. This person was really passionate about math, and it shows.

I was reminded about my own struggles with math as a child. I loved logic puzzles, but I could not stand learning about fractions, algebra and other topics. They just did not make sense to me because I could not see it in my head. But now when I sit down in front of a computer and actually program some code to run a task or compute a formula, it seems very trivial. Why is that?

We’ve got a real problem with math education…Those learning it think it’s disconnected, uninteresting and hard; those trying to employ them don’t think they know enough; governments realize it’s a big deal for our economy but don’t know how to fix it; and teachers are also frustrated. - Conrad Wolfram

As I’ve written before, kids need to learn how to type and then learn how to code. There is so much more to learning to code than actually learning to write code. It teaches one to think programmatically. For example, you have a list of 100 local businesses in a list and you need to know how many of the address are correct and if they are not, then update the list with the best possible address. How would you do that? That’s thinking about things in a programmatic manner. Math is done the same way.

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