So this is kind of a followup to my previous article, “Why ‘M’ is the most important letter in STEM (and the alphabet).” I realized that for those who really want to immerse themselves in math — bathe in it, consume it, breathe it, live it — the resources I provided at the end of that article were not sufficient.
This realization was sparked by a fellow TKS innovator, Azam (thank you!), who is embarking on the journey towards mathematical enlightenment. Of course, I’m not claiming to have achieved mathematical enlightenment myself. If I had, I would’ve sought monetary profit a long time ago. But, as a lover and connoisseur of all things math, I can offer some advice.
Projects, not paperwork
If you’re unfamiliar with it, Kumon is a math and reading program that teaches “students [to] study independently from an early age and develop both a high level of academic ability and the ability to learn independently.” You’re given an example the first time a concept is introduced, and then complete worksheet upon worksheet, gradually increasing in difficulty, until you master the concept.
I was a student of the Kumon method myself, and did benefit from it; it was one of several tools I used to propel myself towards higher levels of math. Certainly, it’s effective at ingraining knowledge into the minds and souls of young, impressionable students.
However, this can only get you so far. For many, hours of repeating similar problems will sow the seeds of distaste for math in general, not realizing that math exists beyond a daily quota of classwork and homework.
If you view your foundation of knowledge from school, extracurricular programs, or elsewhere as a launching pad, then the next step is to build the rocket. And the way you build the rocket is through projects that use and…