If you are interested in math but always found it daunting, follow the new series starting today in the New York Times. It sounds like a great introduction to math. Check it out. If it delivers on its promise, it will be well worth your time. It might even be a good read for young students in grade seven or eight. Click the link.
From Fish to Infinity --- NYT
I've always had a certain love for numbers. I can still vividly recall getting scolded in grade one for not memorizing all my multiplication tables. I was asked, "What is five times ten?" I thought for a moment and said, "50." I took a bit too long to answer and so was asked another question from the five times table. This time I took even longer as I answered the question, "What is five times nine?" "45."
The teacher quizzed me, a little boy in grade one, and discovered that I knew how to multiply by ten, just add a zero to the number. I also understood division by two. And I could subtract ones.
To multiply an even number by five I was dividing by two and adding a zero. To multiply an odd number by five I was subtracting one, dividing by two, and finally adding a five as one added a zero when working with ten. Why I thought this was a better approach than simply memorizing the five times multiplication table I'm not sure.
Maybe I thought I had enough math tools. I didn't need anymore. I was just showing an early conservationist bent.
Tomorrow, I am running Part Three: Killing ourselves with an unhealthy lifestyle.