If I had to design a mechanism for the express purpose of destroying a child's natural curiosity and love of pattern-making, I couldn't possibly do as good a job as is currently being done-I simply wouldn't have the imagination to come up with the kind of senseless, soul-crushing ideas that constitute contemporary mathematics education. Paul Lockhart

If I had to design a mechanism for the express purpose of destroying a child's natural curiosity and love of pattern-making, I couldn't possibly do as good a job as is currently being done-I simply wouldn't have the imagination to come up with the kind of senseless, soul-crushing ideas that constitute contemporary mathematics education.

A good problem is something you don't know how to solve. That's what makes it a good puzzle and a good opportunity. Paul Lockhart

A good problem is something you don't know how to solve. That's what makes it a good puzzle and a good opportunity.

To do mathematics is to engage in an act of discovery and conjecture, intuition and inspiration; to be in a state of confusion − not because it makes no sense to you, but because you gave it sense and you still don't understand what your creation is up to. Paul Lockhart

To do mathematics is to engage in an act of discovery and conjecture, intuition and inspiration; to be in a state of confusion − not because it makes no sense to you, but because you gave it sense and you still don't understand what your creation is up to.

There is nothing as dreamy and poetic, nothing as radical, subversive, and psychedelic, as mathematics. It is every bit as mind blowing as cosmology or physics (mathematicians conceived of black holes long before astronomers actually found any), and allows more freedom of expression than poetry, art, or music (which depends heavily on properties of the physical universe). Mathematics is the purest of the arts, as well as the most misunderstood. Paul Lockhart

There is nothing as dreamy and poetic, nothing as radical, subversive, and psychedelic, as mathematics. It is every bit as mind blowing as cosmology or physics (mathematicians conceived of black holes long before astronomers actually found any), and allows more freedom of expression than poetry, art, or music (which depends heavily on properties of the physical universe). Mathematics is the purest of the arts, as well as the most misunderstood.

If teaching is reduced to mere data transmission, if there is no sharing or excitement and wonder, if teachers themselves are passive recipients of information and not creators of new ideas, what hope is there for their students? Paul Lockhart

If teaching is reduced to mere data transmission, if there is no sharing or excitement and wonder, if teachers themselves are passive recipients of information and not creators of new ideas, what hope is there for their students?

Mathematics is the art of explanation. If you deny students the opportunity to engage in this activity-- to pose their own problems, to make their own conjectures and discoveries, to be wrong, to be creatively frustrated, to have an inspiration, and to cobble together their own explanations and proofs-- you deny them mathematics itself. Paul Lockhart

Mathematics is the art of explanation. If you deny students the opportunity to engage in this activity-- to pose their own problems, to make their own conjectures and discoveries, to be wrong, to be creatively frustrated, to have an inspiration, and to cobble together their own explanations and proofs-- you deny them mathematics itself.

It is the story that matters, not just the ending. Paul Lockhart

It is the story that matters, not just the ending.

Mathematics is about problems, and problems must be made the focus of a student's mathematical life. Painful and creatively frustrating as it may be, students and their teachers should at all times be engaged in the process - having ideas, not having ideas, discovering patterns, making conjectures, constructing examples and counterexamples, devising arguments, and critiquing each other's work. Paul Lockhart

Mathematics is about problems, and problems must be made the focus of a student's mathematical life. Painful and creatively frustrating as it may be, students and their teachers should at all times be engaged in the process - having ideas, not having ideas, discovering patterns, making conjectures, constructing examples and counterexamples, devising arguments, and critiquing each other's work.

Mental acuity of any kind comes from solving problems yourself, not from being told how to solve them. Paul Lockhart

Mental acuity of any kind comes from solving problems yourself, not from being told how to solve them.

Why don't we want our children to learn to do mathematics? Is it that we don't trust them, that we think it's too hard? We seem to feel that they are capable of making arguments and coming to their own conclusions about Napoleon. Why not about triangles? Paul Lockhart

Why don't we want our children to learn to do mathematics? Is it that we don't trust them, that we think it's too hard? We seem to feel that they are capable of making arguments and coming to their own conclusions about Napoleon. Why not about triangles?

No mathematician in the world would bother making these senseless distinctions: 2 1/2 is a "mixed number " while 5/2 is an "improper fraction." They're EQUAL for crying out loud. They are the exact same numbers and have the exact same properties. Who uses such words outside of fourth grade? Paul Lockhart

No mathematician in the world would bother making these senseless distinctions: 2 1/2 is a "mixed number " while 5/2 is an "improper fraction." They're EQUAL for crying out loud. They are the exact same numbers and have the exact same properties. Who uses such words outside of fourth grade?

Doing mathematics should always mean finding patterns and crafting beautiful and meaningful explanations. Paul Lockhart

Doing mathematics should always mean finding patterns and crafting beautiful and meaningful explanations.

Teaching is not about information. It's about having an honest intellectual relationship with your students. It requires no method, no tools, and no training. Just the ability to be real. And if you can't be real, then you have no right to inflict yourself upon innocent children. Paul Lockhart

Teaching is not about information. It's about having an honest intellectual relationship with your students. It requires no method, no tools, and no training. Just the ability to be real. And if you can't be real, then you have no right to inflict yourself upon innocent children.

So how does one go about proving something like this? It's not like being a lawyer, where the goal is to persuade other people; nor is it like a scientist testing a theory. This is a unique art form within the world of rational science. We are trying to craft a "poem of reason" that explains fully and clearly and satisfies the pickiest demands of logic, while at the same time giving us goosebumps. Paul Lockhart

So how does one go about proving something like this? It's not like being a lawyer, where the goal is to persuade other people; nor is it like a scientist testing a theory. This is a unique art form within the world of rational science. We are trying to craft a "poem of reason" that explains fully and clearly and satisfies the pickiest demands of logic, while at the same time giving us goosebumps.

Mathematics is not a language, it's an adventure Paul Lockhart

Mathematics is not a language, it's an adventure

Profession: Math Teacher

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