Here’s the truth:
Mathies are not smart.
Mathies are hilarious.
Mathies know very little about mathematics.
Here are my suggestions:
It’s okay to be wrong. It’s even better to not know.
Mathematics is not easy for ANYBODY.
Math has a future.
To keep my math chops sharp, I try now and then to get my hands dirty with some kind of problem that does not have an obvious solution. While designing a math problem for my students, I stumbled upon this question, which I’ve been examining on and off for the past few months:
Here is the link to my store, SamizdatMath, where you can download this problem, as well as some ways to incorporate it into a study of area and perimeter. I would love to hear from your students to see how many solutions they have made. I’m up to 47 variations, but it would be great to discover a new arrangement that I have never seen yet.
Robert M. Berkman has taught mathematics from pre-kindergarten to college in New York City. His interests include concept development, the neuroscience of numeracy, and the causes and remediations of math anxiety. He is the director of Better Living through Mathematics and publishes curriculum as Samizdatmath at Teachers Pay Teachers. All inquiries can be directed here.