I’ve always found mathematics beautiful. And I’ve always, or nearly always, felt that it was taught poorly. Too much time spent trying to get to the answer and almost no appreciation for the poetic magnificence around it. I saw this discussion on StackExchange and fell back in love with math all over again:

Visually stunning math concepts which are easy to explain

Just a little while ago I read about Moebius Noodles, [article in The Atlantic] a book (a movement?) that shares this love of math and honestly, to the core, believes that all children can learn to love math, too. It has to do with how we talk about it.

An excerpt:

“Calculations kids are forced to do are often so developmentally inappropriate, the experience amounts to torture,” she says. They also miss the essential point—that mathematics is fundamentally about patterns and structures, rather than “little manipulations of numbers,” as she puts it. It’s akin to budding filmmakers learning first about costumes, lighting and other technical aspects, rather than about crafting meaningful stories.

 

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Simulating a TI calculator with crazy 11-bit opcodes.

A 1970s calculator sim via javascript, with an explanation of how those little computing machines worked.

Now’s a good time for me to recommend The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick. An awesome, in-depth chronology of communication and the concept of information. There’s a great chapter on Babbage where he describes the original calcuators: people who wrote out tables of calculated numbers. It’s a great read.

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Mathematical Impressions: Making Music with a Möbius Strip: Scientific American.

Visualizing chord permutations in space. It involves drawing on a bagel with a Sharpie and then squishing it. Honestly.

Mathematical!

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I found this great collection of projected maps while explaining the shape of the Earth to my five-year-old. Print, cut, fold and glue multiple polyhedrons, including a rhombicuboctahedron.

Map Projections: Polyhedron Maps.

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