Hello, and thank you for visiting Math Rewind. I created this blog for mathematics educators. I want to present ideas on how to introduce mathematical concepts early and often throughout a student’s primary education. The purpose of this is to make learning mathematics a more efficient enterprise and to enable long-term retention in students as well as a greater capability to apply mathematical thinking to a wide range of problems.
I completed a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and two master’s degrees – in education and in operations research years later. I learned much of what I came to know through self teaching. In addition to self teaching, I digested many books on the history of mathematics as well as classical texts on geometry and algebra from early giants of mathematics such as Euclid and Descartes. Through all of this study, I came to realize that modern education in mathematics is lacking in that we wait too long to teach students certain concepts, often introducing concepts in late high school or college when children should be introduced to them in grade school.
This blog is about rewinding – about rewinding the timeline on which math education is designed. For example, in the current design of math curricula (at least in the United States), the concept of the derivative is first introduced to a student who is around 17 or 18 years old. This is not okay – the concept of a derivative can be introduced as soon as the age of five. Of course, the precise definition and learning all aspects of derivatives must wait until the child is older, but along the way, that introduction at the age of five may be refined every school year until it is simple to study calculus with the background one would have developed to that point in the study of derivatives. The same can be done with any mathematical concept.
It is time to update mathematics curricula and challenge the assumptions of what concepts are “too hard” for young students. Using better educational methodology, it is not difficult to introduce to grade school students what we now introduce to students in their late teens, to include functions, integration, limits, vectors, matrices, and much more. By the time students are in their late teens, many concepts should not be introduced, but refined, having been introduced and reinforced over many years beginning in early grade school. This blog will present through a series of posts many ideas on how to rewind mathematics curricula to teach concepts earlier to students; I hope you enjoy the posts and that what I write here will provoke thought on how you can accelerate the pace of learning in your own schools.