This is part 2 of a series about math. The series will be in 2 parts:
- PART 1–fascinating math concepts and ideas
- PART 2–real math
I don’t like to break things into subjects in my life. It’s all just part of life and learning. But I can understand the use for that in record keeping (which I do myself, so I do break things up there) and other such areas. So here on this blog, they may well be broken up.
This section is going to be a little different. I’ll definitely share some resources, but I just want to talk about math, and the part they play in the world.
Let me tell you a little story. About 5 months ago or so, I learned how to calculate the possible lengths of a side of a triangle when you know the others. It’s pretty basic stuff, just a little adding and subtracting and you’re there. I learned it, I thought it was pretty cool, but I wasn’t very excited about and I didn’t think about it again. Until February. In February, I flew home from DC (a connecting flight actually from Columbia). Because of weather, I was delayed 3 hours and when I finally got on the plane, we were rerouted to a different airport. Flying there, I was exhausted (by this point it was about midnight) and ready to be home after being away for 3 weeks. When I get stressed and sad, I like to distract myself. So I did some math. I knew how far away we were from home. I knew how far the other airport was from home (where my mom was waiting). So I used that formula I’d learned and figured out roughly the distance between the two airports (and thus the time it would take for my mother to arrive where I would be landing). Perhaps that was a long story I chose, just to prove a point. But it does prove my point. Math is everywhere. The things you’ve learning, just because they are interesting, come to help you in “real life”1 The calculations you do all the time because they’re useful, help you understand math that is “just interesting”. Are Fibonacci numbers “real life” or “just interesting”? They occur in real life. But they’re not necessarily “useful” in your everyday life. What about probability and statistics? Clearly used in life, but also a concept easily explored in the abstract. The line is blurry.
There is one resource I want to share. One of my absolute favorites.
Khan Academy Partners: I talked about Khan Academy in PART 1, but I want to cover a different side of it. Because of a website redesign, it’s harder to find this section in one place. But before we get talk more about Partners, let me tell you my issue with Khan Academy: it is boring. Some people don’t agree with me, but I think that almost all of the videos are totally uninteresting and slow. This is why Partners is great. It’s other people’s videos, compiled in one place. All the ones I’ve watched are far more engaging that the regular Khan Academy videos. My absolute favorite part of Partners is called Pixar in a Box (here’s the link, you don’t even have to look for it). It teaches you how Pixar makes it’s animations, and it’s fascinating! Technically, it’s about programming, but there is so much math involved. The math is hard and takes a lot of focus, but it’s rewarding because of the real world things you’re learning. I love it, because it shows how you need math in all these things like making movies, and also how people use it in their jobs.
There are other sections of Khan Academy Partners, about math and other things. You can find those in the drop down menus. (Here is the about math, here is one on world history, and there are videos about music here)
Head over to resources page if you want even more resources.
1 I put this in (and other phrases in this text) to demonstrate that, this is how people would generally categorize these things. I don’t see any need to categorize them.