Monday, October 20, 2014

Why Rules.

Some people think that learning maths is about getting the right answer but really it is about learning rules for handling numbers and how and when to apply them. It is a bit like building something with Lego. With the basic building kits the instructions seem surplus to requirements.

To build hardly requires

However the Lego Millennium Falcon needs you to follow the rules as set out in over one hundred steps in two 80 page booklets.

Numbers as objects are a little like Lego bricks, there are different types that can be combined to create a vast collection of models that reflect the real world. Also just as over time new Lego bricks were created to make more complex models so have new numbers.
We are not able to grasp numbers as objects in the same way as we can with Lego bricks. However the building of the Lego Millennium Falcon is achieved by following sequences of pictures. In the same way pictures of numbers can be used to achieve a result.
Starting at the beginning we can picture Ones combining to make the number Two.

Never be afraid to use pictures in mathematics no matter how simple the problem appears.