On Math Class

I’m not a math person. You can probably tell that from reading most of this blog, but I think my frustration with math was largely due to a lack of life application that I could really see. Why do I need to solve this formula? What is the purpose? What is so interesting about it and why do I have to memorize it and why can’t the computer just do it for me and why do I need to learn it anyway?

The math classes that I enjoyed the most were geometry (which involved problem solving and creative solutions, at which I am very good) and statistics (which involved problem solving and creative solutions… I’m sensing a pattern…) and the classes that gave me the most stress were usually various forms of algebra. What is the purpose of algebra? No teacher was ever able to explain that, beyond saying “you have to learn this math so you can learn more math later,” which is incredibly circular logic to someone who didn’t want to learn this math in the first place.If I don’t like this math, then why on earth would I want to learn it and then be subjected to more of it later?

I do like to draw, though, and I love to color geometric patterns and even made some very intricate circular doodles during my school years (being a frequently bored-in-school child) and if someone had ever told me that there was a connection between the beauty of the patterns on the paper and the formula on the board, I suspect I would have then seen a purpose to that formula (I can make my art more beautiful!), then I would have wanted not only to learn this math, but also more math and then complex math beyond that.

All of that being said, I have discovered a mathematician who also likes to draw. This is one of my favorite videos that she made.

Why isn’t math class interesting? And why can’t we have an explanation for learning things like math, and science? It might help motivate kids like me to learn why  a^2 + b^2 = c^2 and what is so interesting about that formula.

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