Cure for Math-o-phobia

by ryan

When I was in high school and college, I wasn’t that into chemistry and biology but the one subject that I really couldn’t stand was math. I always saw it as only memorizing formulas and I reacted against the idea that each problem only had one right answer.

As an explainer I’ve been exposed to various trainings, exhibits and playgrounds that have expanded my view on math and made it more interesting and relevant to my life. On Friday we had a training with a math teacher from Canada (and I’m sorry i don’t remember his name) and he shared a perspective that offered a good way for math-o-phobics like myself to relate to the subject.

He presented math as a way to think of solving problems from what is the biggest tree to the most efficient ways to fit cars in the parking lot to how to measure the curve of Lombard street. And in these problems his focus was not on the ‘right’ answer but in the process of figuring out the way to look at the problem. And in that sense its more of a tool for looking at the world and understanding things in our everyday lives. We only spent a short time in the training but for the rest of the day we tried to figure out the answer to this problem…

How many times in a day do the hands of a clock make a right angle?

Hint : you may have to use the chalkboard at the final final to figure it out.