Learn clever techniques to do seemingly hard computations with ease and joy. Become skillful with numbers for success in school and beyond!
Mathematicians often jokingly refer to themselves as lazy because they always seek out the simplest solution to a problem and avoid tedious work at all costs. In this course, students learn 25 clever techniques for simplifying computational problems and avoiding unpleasant calculations. These techniques build on each other throughout the course, forming a well connected, coherent curriculum. Students develop computational thinking and number sense, which are the bases for many fields, including AI, data science, and machine learning.
As an example, consider the following question: 4003 - 1998 = ?
This would have most people grabbing for their calculators, or rolling their eyes at the long chain of “borrowing” that is required to do it manually. A simple solution is to add 2 to both numbers and change the question to something much more manageable: 4005 - 2000 = ?
Being able to calculate in your head is a practical life skill. The benefit extends to written computations as well, making them easier and quicker. Proficiency in mental math contributes to increased skill in estimation, which is essential for checking the reasonablness of an answer obtained using a calculator.
Beyond being able to recognize and apply a variety of strategies for flexible computation, students will come to understand why these work and how, gaining a better understanding of place value, mathematical operations, and basic number properties.
Grades: This course is recommended for students entering Grades 7 - 12 in September. Students entering grade 6 who are very interested may also register. Prerequisite knowledge requirements include proficiency with multiplication tables and operations with fractions.
Teachers: Taught by Dr. Natasa Sirotic, co-founder of Math Potentials
Curriculum: The book "Mental Math in Junior High" by R. Reys is used for this course. Extending from whole numbers to decimals to fractions, the course presents a coherent curriculum as new strategies build on past ones. It is not a series of isolated/standalone strategies.
Classes in this summer program are 1 hour long, twice a week for 5 weeks. They are conducted virtually through Zoom.
Class Times: 11 am to 12 pm
Class Dates: Classes are on Tuesdays and Fridays, from July 14 to Aug 14, 2020.
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