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How can I make math fun for my brother?

  1. May 19, 2010 #1
    My younger brother is 12 years old (in 7th grade), and I'm trying to give him a sense of appreciation for math while he's still young. I want to show him that math can be enjoyable, and at the same time teach him some things he probably wouldn't learn in school.

    Does anyone have any advice, or maybe some resources to help me with this?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 19, 2010 #2
  4. May 19, 2010 #3
    Allow him to punch you in the stomach every time he gets a math problem correct.
  5. May 19, 2010 #4
    An then hope he does not get expelled from school for punching people in the stomach :rofl:
  6. May 19, 2010 #5
    I suggest applying Math to Physics problems, that's how I got interested.

    Boys love Physics
    Last edited: May 20, 2010
  7. May 19, 2010 #6
  8. May 20, 2010 #7
    There's a reason why they say "For every hour of class, spend two hours studying." Most of the time you do have to master the material outside of class, whether it be on your own, or with your peers.
  9. May 20, 2010 #8
    What does this have to with my question? He's 12 years old, not in college.
  10. May 20, 2010 #9
    You can show him some spectacular results that he can easily understand. E.g., how can you efficiently calculate:

    S = 1 + 2+ 3 + 4 + ...+100 ?

    Of course, you can do that as follows. We have

    2 S = (1 + 2+ 3 + 4 + ...+100) + (100 + 99 + 98 + ...1)

    And then if you add them up as follows:

    (1 + 100) + (2 + 99 ) + (3 + 98) + ...

    Depending on his algebra skills, you can do this more formally, of course.

    I think what may also work at this age is to slowly teach him combinatorics. You can always work with simple examples were you can do a direct counting. Like in how many ways can you put three diffrent objects in a row. If he gets that in the case of n objects it is n(n-1)(n-2)...1, which for n = 20 is a huge number that he cannot possibly cannot count to, then to him that is also a spectacular result.
  11. May 20, 2010 #10
    Show him some neat facts that can be deduced from mathematics. For example, the old "start with a penny, double it every day for a month" thing. Also, calculate with him how many possible permutations there are for a deck of 52 cards.

    Those kinds of thing may spark an interest
  12. May 20, 2010 #11


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    Gold Member

    Analyze mathematically games such as tic tac toe, bloxorz, connect four, tower of hanoi. It develops insights while at the same time it's fun.
  13. May 21, 2010 #12
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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