Math is one of my favorites subjects, even if it means teaching one child basic addition facts, another child how to find the surface area of a dodecahedron, and the third child how to raise a polynomial to the fifth power, all in the same morning.
X Reasons I love teaching Math *
1. There's always a right answer. The beauty of math lies in the fact that it's black and white; there's no gray zone where I need to figure out if my child used enough descriptive adjectives in their autobiographical essay.
2. Nearly all math can be illustrated using manipulatives or games.
3. If I search hard enough, I can find a practical application for nearly every problem. If we're multiplying fractions, it must be time to make some dessert. Fractions and decimals are a great opportunity to talk about finding good bargains. The ideas are practically endless.
I'm still not sure how useful it is to figure out when two trains will meet in the middle, but I can figure out that this week's run is significantly better than last weeks.
4. Even though there's often one right answer, there may be more than one way to get to that answer. I don't have to do it the way the book says if I don't want to.
5. It's a challenge. When I see a box of puzzle pieces, I take it as a challenge to put it all together. Similarly, when I see a complicated math problem, I see it as a challenge to find a way to get to the right answer.
6. Fellow math nerds can appreciate the dry humor we find in mathematical contexts. "Why is Apple's favorite number the square root of negative one? Because they name everything i."
* Answer: x=6
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, "Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas." Perhaps I like that sort of poetry. Perhaps I like logic. Or, perhaps I'm just a math nerd.
Several members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew are writing blog posts about their favorite subjects to teach. Visit the Crew blog any time after Tuesday morning February 12th to see the list of what everyone else enjoys teaching.