Calling all people who like math.. (or maths)


by Bladibla
Tags: calling, math, maths, people
Bladibla
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#1
Feb18-05, 11:28 AM
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When you first studied the subject known as Mathematics, did you like it at first, or did you have the math-phobia effect when you first saw it?

And if the second point is true, how did (if you feel you did, that is) you conquer it?
Perhaps the very questioning is wrong and invalid, because it sometimes seems to me Mathematics is more about 'natural' skill than the skill learnt by hard work.
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quasar987
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Feb18-05, 05:50 PM
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You mean in grade school? (Or whatever it's called where you first go to school at 6) It was awfull ! My wondering "How the hell am I supposed to know how to convert dollars to stupid pesos ?!?!?!? This is AbSuuuuuUrdD !!!!!" and drawing Mexicans attacking tourists on the desk is the clearest memory I have of ealier math class. I probably remember it because of the even bigger absurdity that came after this: I got a B at converting dollars to pesos !
eax
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#3
Feb18-05, 07:27 PM
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I found out that when you "relax" and learn you learn better for some reason. When being worried about not remembering something I always forget it Anyway I only started to try to do math in highschool and it was very easy. But in elementary I didn't try at all(completely, I didn't do the work too because I thought it was to repetitive)

Integral
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Feb18-05, 07:38 PM
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Calling all people who like math.. (or maths)


In elementary school I did not perform well or enjoy the endless repetitions year after year of the same arithmetic problems. When I finally got to a real math class, Algebra I, It was like a fish in water, I loved it and have never looked back.

IMHO, elementary math education in the US is all about creating Math Phobes. It is taught in a large part by math phobes who have no real idea of what math actually is. I enjoy telling math teachers of the student (yours truly) who in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade barely managed a D in "math" that went on to get a Math Degree (With Highest Scholarship). My point being that performance, or lack of, in elementary arithmetic classes is not a true measure of mathematical abilities.
franznietzsche
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#5
Feb18-05, 07:59 PM
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Quote Quote by Integral
My point being that performance, or lack of, in elementary arithmetic classes is not a true measure of mathematical abilities.

It is generally considered a sign of the opposite in fact. Of all the great mathematicians in history only Gauss was noted for being exceptional with arithmetic, the exception rather than the rule, whereas many, many mathematicians have been very poor at arithmetic.
eax
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#6
Feb18-05, 08:04 PM
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For me the best part about math is stuff that is more "real world" related like physics. In my elementary class every year my teacher doesn't know something that he is sopposed to teach us. for my sister too. I taught her a few things and the rest from grade to grade basicly repeats. Until Highschool. I can't wait to get to university!

Good thing I had fun In elementary playing games etc.
semidevil
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#7
Feb18-05, 08:33 PM
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Quote Quote by eax
For me the best part about math is stuff that is more "real world" related like physics. In my elementary class every year my teacher doesn't know something that he is sopposed to teach us. for my sister too. I taught her a few things and the rest from grade to grade basicly repeats. Until Highschool. I can't wait to get to university!

Good thing I had fun In elementary playing games etc.

being an asian, I was stereotyped to be "good at math." however, I wasn't. I always only did average in middle and high school. I did better then a majority of the class, but then again, I felt kind of ashamed because all the smart friends were in the accelerated program and I was in the regular program.

up to trig, I did not like math that much.....when calculus came in, it felt a lot better. I wasn't a genius, but I enjoyed doing it more...I felt more application when I did probability and differential equations, and doing some proofs were fun too, because it made me ponder on things....

so now, I like math....it's great. I just dont like doing it if I dotn understand it. :)
mathwonk
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#8
Feb18-05, 08:39 PM
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i always liked math in general, but i did not always like algebra, or analysis. constant study, and contact with people who did like those subjects and could explain why they were beautiful and natural and useful, helped me overcome my phobia for them.
Eratosthenes
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#9
Feb18-05, 09:51 PM
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I was very good at math when I was younger; I was much faster than all the other kids.

I am still better at math than the people in my classes in college. I tend to do extremely well on exams and get all A's, but I have to study to do so. It isn't given to me, I have to work very very hard to master the course material given to me. I have trouble just like everyone else with difficult concepts and problems, but in the end I always end up learning the material and doing well, every single time. Now if I didn't have to study, now that would be something, then I would a genius I guess. Unfortunately I am not.

I think there are many many people who are very good at math and do not know it because they do not work hard.


Do I like math? It depends on your definition of like. I like it enough that I can sit down and do homework for a couple of hours, and that is good enough I suppose. I have a much harder time doing english homework or reading a novel, and that is why I study math. Probably not the best reason, but it's a reason I guess.
mattmns
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#10
Feb18-05, 10:03 PM
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I think I always liked math. However, I did not start to care about learning it in school until I got to algebra 2. Also, I completly agree with Integral about elementary math teachers, that is one of the big reasons why I think I will home school my kids.
mathwonk
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#11
Feb18-05, 11:46 PM
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one remark:

it does not matter whether math is mastered by natural talent or hard work, since the talent is already given out; there is nothing we can personally do but work hard.
ek
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#12
Feb19-05, 01:33 AM
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I was always the best at math in elementary school. Now I'm a lot closer to average. The one thing I am exceptional at is arithmetic and more specifically mental math. I can do very complicated computations in my head, not like 3627984 x 385678934 (I'm not autistic!), but physics formulas which need a numerical answer I can do very easily. Doing four or five consecutive calculations to arrive at an answer is no problem for me. In grade eight we used to do these "drills" every class. There were 80 questions, ten three digit numbers multiplied by each of the numbers 2-9. We were given ten minutes to do it and out of 30 kids usually two or three finished, their best times were around nine minutes. I regularly got four minutes and 80/80.

I see numbers very well, but "math" in general, I'm not special at all at it.

And yes I liked math as a kid.
PerennialII
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Feb19-05, 02:03 AM
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Loved it at elementary level, when got to college lost interest for a couple of years. Remember thinking at times whether it would ever converge into anything, whether could ever master it enough for it to be a worthwhile study. After noticing that other subjects didn't have close as much to offer started feeling it truly might be only other thing could do for a living in addition to physics ... been on that route ever since.
Moonbear
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Feb19-05, 02:23 AM
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Quote Quote by Integral
In elementary school I did not perform well or enjoy the endless repetitions year after year of the same arithmetic problems. When I finally got to a real math class, Algebra I, It was like a fish in water, I loved it and have never looked back.
That's how I felt. In my case, I still got As, because I could solve all the problems on my tests, but I really didn't like it in elementary school at all. We used to get speed tests on how quickly you could solve a whole page of addition or multiplication problems, and somehow, being able to do it faster meant you were better at it. Well, they kept holding me back from the harder math group because I just couldn't finish them within whatever time limit they had, even though I got every answer correct. I just never bothered to memorize things like times tables, I was actually stopping to think about every answer as I solved it...heaven forbid a student think! It wasn't until I switched schools in 6th grade that I finally had a math teacher who realized this. When I got to Algebra, I never understood why people complained it was too hard. My mom was one of those who would sit there and tell me that stuff about letters being numbers never made any sense to her, and I'd just roll my eyes and ask her why when it was so easy.

IMHO, elementary math education in the US is all about creating Math Phobes. It is taught in a large part by math phobes who have no real idea of what math actually is. I enjoy telling math teachers of the student (yours truly) who in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade barely managed a D in "math" that went on to get a Math Degree (With Highest Scholarship). My point being that performance, or lack of, in elementary arithmetic classes is not a true measure of mathematical abilities.
I agree. The biggest clue they don't know anything about math is when you ask them "what is math used for" and they never seem to have an answer. As an aside, your story isn't much different than when my 9th grade biology teacher told me I should drop the honors level class because I just didn't have the aptitude it took to succeed in biology. (I've always wanted to go back and rub it in). Of course, that was the same teacher who gave out peanuts during class for some lab we did (I can't recall what it was, something lame where you do things like count peanuts), then when we were done with the lab, one of the students asked if it was okay if we ate the peanuts. He said yes, but then proceeded to deduct points from everyone who ate them because we were supposed to know the lab safety rules were that we don't eat in class. He was just evil.

PS- When I was in elementary school, I thought I wanted to be a playwrite when I grew up. I enjoyed creative writing far more than math (we hadn't really gotten too much science yet...I enjoyed science because we got to feed crickets to chameleons and things like that, but it wasn't something that I had really latched onto as a possible "what do I want to do when I grow up" thing yet). That was just before the over-achiever stage when I was going to be a playwrite and a doctor and cure cancer and become President of the United States.
dextercioby
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#15
Feb19-05, 03:08 AM
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I've always liked Math.Gone to contests in math while in elementary school.In HS,dumped math for Chemistry and later physics.Then i realized its importance after getting into physics school and liking theory...


Daniel.
kdinser
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#16
Feb19-05, 05:11 AM
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I think it was in third grade, I would have been about 8 or so. I asked my teacher why 5*5 was 25, I was told not worry about it and just memorize it. Same thing happened when I asked why we always put the big number on the top when subtracting. That was the last time I bothered to show any interest in math until college.
mathwonk
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#17
Feb19-05, 12:19 PM
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when I say i was not good at algebra, i neglect to mention that i was state champ at algebra as a junior in high school, but it seemed hard to me. also I am a professional algebraic geometer, and have written a graduate text in PhD prelim level algebra, but still algebra seems harder to me and less natural than geometry.

I still have trouble getting a feel for, or even remembering, the semicontinuity theorems of Grauert on higher derived images in sheaf cohomology, so everyone has his own definition of "hard".

also one should not listen too much to grammar school teachers' opinions, especially if they know or care little about math. My son's teacher told us he had little math ability, but we knew different, e.g. he later scored 800 on his SAT's, higher than me.
bfd
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#18
Feb19-05, 03:55 PM
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Quote Quote by Integral
IMHO, elementary math education in the US is all about creating Math Phobes. It is taught in a large part by math phobes who have no real idea of what math actually is.
I am in complete agreement. In my opinion the way math is taught on all levels needs somewhat of an improvement. I believe there are studies associated with SIAM that discuss such issues that I was reading the other night.


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