Maria Droujkova writes, "Last week, The Atlantic published my interview called 5-Year-Olds Can Learn Calculus. I have been following the discussions on blogs, forums, and news sites. The themes that emerge from discussions make me cautiously optimistic. Many grown-ups believe that young math will finally give them a second chance at making sense of algebra and calculus. Others look for the balance between conceptual understanding and the fluency at manipulating numbers. Even if 5-year-olds understand calculus, what would they use it for?
Can we even call activities 'algebra' or 'calculus' if there are no formulas? Are young kids capable of abstraction? Quite a few people come out saying they are already playing advanced math games with toddlers or young kids - or that their parents did so with them! My community Natural Math will be following up on these themes with an open event series, interviewing parents, teachers, researchers, and project leaders who work in related areas.
One theme that I wish was discussed more is the role of autonomy, decision-making, and openness. If kids can't have their free play, or can't say no to activities meaningless to them, math can hurt, whether you work on calculus or simple addition. That's where most of the 'math grief stories' I receive come from. If parents and teachers can't choose, adapt, localize, and remix activities, it severely limits how they can help children learn. And if materials don't have open licenses (I use Creative Commons), it is hard to share or even discuss these adaptations. How can we create diverse, robust, sustainable structures where children are free to learn mathematics, and grown-ups are free to help them?
5-Year-Olds Can Learn Calculus [Luba Vangelova/Atlantic]
My UK publisher, Head of Zeus, has published the official tour schedule for the British tour for Walkaway, with stops in Oxford (with Tim Harford), London (with Laurie Penny), Liverpool (with Chris Pak), Birmingham, and the Hay Literary Festival (with Dr Adam Rutherford). Hope to see you there!
My publicist just found an extra box of the cool promotional Walkaway multitools, and she’s generously offered to give them to the next 100 people to reserve tickets to the May 7th Walkaway event at Chicago’s Royal George Theater, where I’m presenting with CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY creator Max Temkin (current ticket-holders, don’t worry, you get […]
Carol from Cheapass Games writes, “In our continuing quest to bring back the very best classic Cheapass Games, we’re creating a new boxed set of Button Men, our strategy dice combat game. This time around, the characters will appear on cards, rather than pin-back buttons, but since they’re all 1950s era gangsters, the ‘button men’ […]
Bamboo has lots of uses beyond just being panda food. Things like bikes, roads, scaffolding, and musical instruments are made from the fast-growing grass. But unless you are participating in a tropical-themed LARP, you probably wouldn’t want a shirt made from bamboo stalks. So why do bamboo bed sheets make any sense? Because yarn extracted from […]
If you want to work in tech, but don’t have any desire to code web apps to help businesses sell things to other business, you might want to consider a career in cybersecurity. Judging from the apparent complete infiltration of Russian hackers in American cyberspace, it seems fair to speculate that there’s a major shortage of […]
All moms are different. But all moms like getting flowers on Mother’s Day, and that’s a fact (not, however a fact we can document in any fashion.) Instead of getting chewed out for forgetting to call her on the second Sunday of May, you can take care of it ahead of time with Teleflora’s flower […]