Running out of time on my Math You Can Play Kickstarter, so I better get to work on that Kickstarter Special Edition math-art book I promised to all the backers as a bonus reward.
Today I’m working on the Isometric Drawing and Impossible Figures section, because my co-op math classes had so much fun learning how to draw those.
Here’s a starter image on how to draw Minecraft blocks. At first I called them “isometric blocks” — but changing the name to “Minecraft” made the students really excited to learn. I’m not sure whether I like the pencil sketch, or if I should remake the illustrations on the computer…
Make a Y.
Turn it into an M.
Slant down for the bottom.
Slant up for the top.
The most common problem for beginners is that they try to make the base straight. They know a block can sit on a table, so the bottom has to be flat, right? But once students get a feel for how it goes, they can really take off and have fun.
UPDATE: The Kickstarter deals have ended, but my playful math books are still available through your favorite online store or by special order at your local bookshop. (Except for the Prealgebra & Geometry Games book, scheduled for publication in early 2021. Sign up for my email list to get the latest news.)
For children, learning always begins with play. This is how they wrap their minds around new ideas and make them their own.
“There should be no element of slavery in learning. Enforced exercise does no harm to the body, but enforced learning will not stay in the mind. So avoid compulsion, and let your children’s lessons take the form of play.”
—Plato, The Republic
If we want our children to enjoy learning math, our first job is to establish an attitude of playfulness.
This is especially important for anyone working with a discouraged child or a child who is afraid of math. The best way to help a discouraged child is to put away the workbook. Try something different, fun, and challenging.