Making Math Beautiful- Part 1

We started school again this week. I love homeschooling since it is so varied and interesting. Since I write about our life, some posts might not be as relevant to all of you, my dear friends. Sorry about that! This post is all about homeschooling- particularly on a way to make math beautiful. So, please feel free to move on if this is not up your alley. I’ve got some lovely crafting and cooking to share soon.

One of the beauties of homeschooling is that you can explore the beauty of subjects and think deeply about subjects. And there is no time limit. Particularly if you are blessed with mathy children, this can be an excellent way of showing them the beauty of math. So how do I do this? Simple…propose difficult problems to solve. And, attach those difficult problems to real life and even better to a living idea. Furthermore, it is so important to propose those questions and don’t answer them. Let your children struggle and think and wrestle with these grand ideas. Give time and space for thought. Then, after a while, revisit and share solutions if one has not been discovered. This questioning and discovering added to a solid math program contributes so much enjoyment and also motivation for why it is important to know 6 times 8.

(Despite the fact that you think this is all incredibly surreal since you are definitely NOT a math person….ahem…flashback to your college professor telling you to quit the class now before the drop date….then all of a sudden here you are writing a blog post about math. Soldier on, my dear friend.) And, particularly if you are blessed with mathy boys who love WW2 this is perfect.

Have any of you seen The Dam Busters or read anything about those events of WW2? This movie and the surrounding story is incredible fodder for pursing the beauty of math and is my current inspiration. We are going about this a little backwards since my husband and I are trying to figure out how we can demonstrate the design and theory of the bouncing bomb. (More to come…) So, for today we are focusing on the problem of how an airplane can fly parallel to water at exactly 150 ft. (For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, exactly 150 ft was needed for the bomb to work. It was later discovered than 60 ft. was actually needed so the bomb would not break apart.)

So, we build paper airplanes and discussed how we might figure it out. All sorts of ideas were proposed. Then we added lights to the front and tail of our airplane as they did in the movie. We are still discussing how that was a viable solution for the pilots.

So, for now, there is a lot of thinking and testing going on….



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