Saturday, December 14, 2013

Why Do We Learn Mathematics? - Calculation, Application, and Inspiration

I love this TED Talk by Arthur Benjamin on The Magic of Fibonacci Numbers. I particularly like the introduction. Here's how it begins.
"So why do we learn mathematics? Essentially, for three reasons: calculation, application, and last, and unfortunately least in terms of the time we give it, inspiration. 
Mathematics is the science of patterns, and we study it to learn how to think logically, critically and creatively, but too much of the mathematics that we learn in school is not effectively motivated, and when our students ask, "Why are we learning this?" then they often hear that they'll need it in an upcoming math class or on a future test. But wouldn't it be great if every once in a while we did mathematics simply because it was fun or beautiful or because it excited the mind?"
I've been a puzzle-solver and game player for as long as I can remember. I love to do math for fun. I wish more teachers saw the value of puzzling through non-traditional problems and the long-term benefits it brings.

Learn more about these ideas and the beauty of Fibonacci numbers in Benjamin's talk.

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