Friday, February 29, 2008

The Six Senses in Math Class

It is commonly thought that math has no right-brain aptitudes involved with it. I used to think this as well, but since reading AWNM my thoughts on this have changed. Math problems are actually a form of design! They must be designed to solve properly so that they will lead to an answer. Badly designed math problems can be extremely frustrating to the person trying to solve them. I used to think that design applied only to objects, but since reading this book I have concluded that it can apply to absolutely everything, including math problems.
Math problems can also have a story to them because often if one attaches a story to the numbers in the problem they are trying to solve, then it makes this process a great deal easier. Story problems help with this too because when something has a story attached to it, it makes it seem more important and valid, as opposed to simply a set of numbers that must be crunched. Symphony even exists in math, surprising as it may be! Each individual number in a problem or equation works with the other numbers to create a solvable problem or equation. If one of these numbers is off or wrong, the equation or problem will no longer work properly, again creating frustration. If one can have empathy for classmates having a difficult time with math, this helps immensely. Math can be a cryptic subject and one that is hard for a myriad of people. However, if everyone helps and empathizes with each other, then it gradually becomes easier. Play also is present in math and helps while learning math for the very same reason. Math has meaning as well because although numbers just seem like, well, numbers, these numbers can have real-world applications that help people with day-to-day life. One must dig deeper to see this, though.
Until reading AWNM, I was of the persuasion that math merely consisted of left-brain aptitudes and had no connections to the right brain whatsoever. This misconception is not true in the least, as I learned. Math is a left-brain subject with right brain aptitudes. Learning this has sent me on my way to developing a whole new mind.

1 comment:

dimachertov said...

Using right-brain is not only a question of design in math. You'll fail to do any creative stuff there once you rely only on left-brain. You need a lot of abstraction and uncontrolled fountain of new ideas and irrational solutions which should be later verified by logic. But logic and formal calculations are good enough only for stupid tasks like 37*46=? where calculator is better than any human brain. For anything more complicated you need to immensely switch your activity between right-brain and left-brain.

Lack of right-brain kills creativity and non-standard approach. Lack of left-brain kills accuracy. So math needs them both working fine.