Sunday, July 27, 2014

First Hand Evidence that Math is Fun and Useful!

Jordan Ellenburg, the author of "Don't Teach Math, Coach It," got me pretty excited about math.  I guess that is what is great about knowledgeable and passionate teachers.  He writes of observing his eight year old son having so much fun playing baseball, and deciding to make math challenges and games fun for his children.  And he mentions the mathematical benefits of childhood classics like chess and monopoly.  I suppose there can be few better complements to a game than to find out that these games are useful for more than just fun!

Although I never thought of myself as a math wiz, I do suppose I can make my way around numbers just fine.  Maybe my childhood of keeping up with my favorite Chicago Cubs players' batting averages and adjusting them mentally after each at bat didn't hurt.  And mentally calculating my shooting percentage after each 100 jump shots in high school (anywhere between 60-70% was acceptable) was another example of my informal math training.

But after teaching my sons how to play chess, I only hold a .500 winning percentage against them in our first several games.  Our monopoly battles have gone similarly.  I better start practicing!

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