Everyone wants their kid to be good at maths, right?
maths — and the technology, finance, and engineering careers the follow from it — can be lucrative and interesting, but getting a child interested in maths isn’t easy.
Luckily, on Reddit, there’s been a string of great discussions about what made devotees interested or skilled at maths.
We went through some of the most popular submissions from real life maths pros about what got them interested or hooked on mathematics at an early age.
If you’re looking for a place to start, here’s list of easy, cheap, or abundant things that got these people hooked early.
However, results are not guaranteed. As your future mathematician might tell you, correlation does not imply causation.
Lots of Redditors cited Legos as being particularly crucial to their upbringing and thinking. Legos will help your kid conceptualize big, complex abstractions from small basic parts.
Source: pureathiesttroll on Reddit.
Give them the card game Set. First published in 1991, Set was cited by multiple mathematicians as particularly inspiring. The game provokes the ideas of permutations, combinations and probability.
For what it's worth, there's also a very good App for it.
Source: BlueDoorFour on Reddit
One mathematician noted that origami conditioned them to love geometry. Plus, it has the added benefit of appealing to tactile learners.
One of the coolest things with origami and geometry is that it is proven impossible to trisect an angle with ruler and compass (via Galois theory), but very easy to do through origami.
Source: th3p4rchit3ct on Reddit.
Ask children wide open questions that involve estimation and maths, as opposed to the specific questions they get at school.
For example, 'How long will it take to fill a pool?' This kind of open-ended problem solving is tantalising and incorporates all sorts of maths skills. They can also go into as much depth as possible once they solve it.
Source: dsfox on Reddit.
There's an intimate relationship between abstract maths and music, and the same skills necessary to perform well in music -- dedication, creativity, improvisation, and quick-thinking -- are crucial to success in maths.
Source: drvitec on Reddit.
There is no better way to train your brain, said one respondent, than the game Go. The game has very, very simple rules. However, the strategies can get intense.
As one respondent put it:
Really, all games that involve logical thinking more than chance. I enjoy maths because it often seems like a game.
Source: Marcassin on Reddit.
On that note, Chess is another game to teach your kid. It's got relatively simple rules that removes chance from the equation and builds analytical thinking skills. Plus, it's much more popular than Go, so they won't have trouble finding an opponent.
Source: gindc on Reddit.
One Redditor recommended asking them this problem:
How many pieces can you get if you slice a pie with five straight cuts?
And then expanding the scope of it to see what they can figure out.
Source: weaselword on Reddit
One mathematician's brother taught him basic arithmetic at a young age with Magic: The Gathering cards, a competitive card game. Others testified they learned from similar games, like Pokemon cards and RPG video games.
Source: rakalakalili on reddit
He's the best. Garner helmed a 'recreational mathematics' column about maths puzzles in Scientific American for two and a half decades and through his work got generations interested in maths. His books are widely available and are perfect for anyone looking for some challenging questions.
Source: rook2pawn on Reddit
Another way to secretly teach them maths is to encourage them to play on kitchen tiles, which lead directly to the concepts of tessellation, pattern identification, and convergent series.
One redditor described one problem he thought of:
One question I was always curious about was, if the line separating two tiles was very, very thin, what colour would it be when you were between two tiles? What about when you were at a corner where four tiles met?
And one of the responses:
That's actually one of the versions of Zeno's Dichotomy paradox, though you may already know that.
So it's more than you'd think.
Source: tactics on Reddit
One Redditor was enthralled by the challenge of making his calculator calculate 5318008. Consider explaining the joke to your future Turing.
HINT: It's because it says 'BOOBIES' upside down.
Source: alwaysonesmaller on Reddit
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