Playful Math Carnival 96 via The Usual Mayhem

Check out the new playful math education carnival at The Usual Mayhem. Puzzles, primes, patterns, and more playful mathy fun:

MTAP96

I am delighted to be hosting March’s MTaP Carnival! It’s late because I had the flu for 10 days – sorry for the delay, I know that we all look forward to reading the contributors’ posts each month. Without further delay, then, here are the great reads you won’t want to miss….

Click here to go read the carnival post.

Memorizing the Math Facts

Central City Times Tables[Photo by dsb nola via flickr.]

The most effective and powerful way I’ve found to commit math facts to memory is to try to understand why they’re true in as many ways as possible. It’s a very slow process, but the fact becomes permanently lodged, and I usually learn a lot of surrounding information as well that helps me use it more effectively.

Actually, a close friend of mine describes this same experience: he couldn’t learn his times tables in elementary school and used to think he was dumb. Meanwhile, he was forced to rely on actually thinking about number relationships and properties of operations in order to do his schoolwork. (E.g. I can’t remember 9×5, but I know 8×5 is half of 8×10, which is 80, so 8×5 must be 40, and 9×5 is one more 5, so 45. This is how he got through school.) Later, he figured out that all this hard work had actually given him a leg up because he understood numbers better than other folks. He majored in math in college and is now a cancer researcher who deals with a lot of statistics.

Ben Blum-Smith
Comment on Math Mama’s post What must be memorized?

The entire discussion (article and comments) is well worth reading:

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