Day 160: A World of Numbers

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June 8, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

How do you get a kid to learn?  How do you get a kid to want to learn?  How do you get a kid to give a crap at all?  I think it starts with relevance.  I think it starts with the ability to connect with the material – to acknowledge that it’s more than a B+ or a C- – that it’s more than multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank.  You have to earn that sort of attention, and it’s sometimes hard-earned, but there’s really no alternative if education is your mission.  Real education means inviting, connecting, relating and applying.  Learning doesn’t end when the bell chimes, and any “learning” that does isn’t really learning at all.  Any means of bettering education in America or anywhere else must account for the need to engage learners – to invite them to wish to learn – to pull them into learning, rather than pushing it (or flat-out beating it) into them.  Today’s project can proudly be counted amongst a growing army of educational innovators, rethinking lesson plans to help make learning more relevant, fun, and ultimately, more effective.

Math52 is revealing the numbers behind everyday things.  No longer are algebra, geometry and trigonometry reserved for lectures and midterms; with a weekly series to apply math concepts to everyday life and a comprehensive in-school lesson plan to follow it up with engaging discussions and hands-on, brains-on activities, Math52 might do the improbable: make learning math fun.

The Math52 video series will offer a fresh vision of what it means to teach math. Each week for a year we’ll create a new video exploring a unique application of math in everyday life:

  • How far would you have to run to burn off a Big Mac?
  • Do people with small feet pay too much for shoes?
  • Is it ever a good idea to buy AppleCare…
  • …and what can this tell us about health insurance?

Math really is everywhere, but it takes a special set of mental tools to see it.  Math52 is one of the best looking toolkits I’ve heard of yet, and I wish I’d had a system so interesting when I was struggling through grade school math classes.  I think I’ll still follow along – I’ll probably learn a thing or two, but it’ll definitely get me thinking, which I think is the best takeaway a lesson plan can provide.

Pitch in and help Math52 reveal the secret world of numbers behind everything to students who’d otherwise rather be snoozing through math class.


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