As kids we have always had our very own mathematical tricks, these tricks were tucked away in our rough notes and last pages of our textbooks.To name a few – Magic square, tables of number 9 and the list just goes on. As an example, let me show you a famous game of numbers called “Think of a number”. So, come along now and we’ll play “Think of a number”.
Let’s start at the obvious – Think of a number. Now that you have, double the number, add 6 to it. Now divide it by 2 and finally subtract the original number from the number you just obtained. The number you’re left with is …Drum rolls! …. 3!
If you pay a bit more attention to these tricks, you will realise that you probably did the math in your mind, without a calculator or sometimes even without writing it down. And some tricks made us understand mathematical operations better, like adding two numbers using two scales (also learning the trick to convince our parents to buy two scales, which was an even more important skill to learn).
All these tricks made numbers look less strange and they no longer were the mysterious tiny creatures dancing across our textbooks without rhythm. We understood that math isn’t just random, but has beautiful patterns in them. And it made us realize that Math was less about memory and more about patterns. These math tricks come in all varieties and in all shapes and sizes, a platter of choices.
Learning, like any maths problem, has different ways, these ways are limited only by one’s creativity. So it’s not just a matter of getting the solution but it’s equally important to choose the right path, maybe the addition using a scale is not for you, as a fish can’t fly and a bird can’t swim we have to choose the right approach and believe you me there are plenty of ways to learn. At the same time, we should not shy away from any learning approach as they enrich us in some ways, dare to try. Dare to dream! And Dare to think different!
– Nithya Prabakaran, Teacher, Sri Seshaas International Public School
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