Monday, December 22, 2014

I'm a Math Geek not a Math Nerd

I often joke with my students that I'm a math nerd. I love math; at least the math that we expect young children to learn. But nerd am I no more! After listening to a great program on Vermont Public Radio this morning I now declare myself a Math Geek.

I see the world through maths-tinted glasses. I see how the angles between the branches and twigs on the same trees are similar and how they are different on different trees. I get a kick out of seeing a bunch of cars the same color or a row of buses; in other words, unexpectedly large numbers of things the same. I revel in subitizing and finding number patterns where there really shouldn't be any. From my increasing  understanding of fractals I am beginning to see the mathematical perfection of just about everything and how there really is very little in the world that is random or that does not follow a mathematical pattern of some sort.I even appreciate the land of my fathers differently ever since I saw the coastline measured using fractal mathematics.

So being a Geek is no longer a negative thing. According to the VPR commentary it is "as cool as being a homecoming queen or captain of the football team". The program also introduced me to the grammatically correct act of "verbing" the word geek as in "geeking out the library".

The really cool think about being a math geek is that it gives legitimacy to the idea that math is really cool; something I have believed in for many years. No, I don't mean that adding 29 + 59 is cool (unless you just see it as 30 + 60 - 2) . I mean looking for the next number in the sequence 0,1,1,2,3,5,8 is really cool; thinking about odd and even numbers as partnered numbers and non-partnered numbers; seeing how all circles are just over 3 times their diameter around the circumference; all circles are.

Math is the science of pattern and the art of making sense.

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