Homeadults with learning disabilitiesMathematical Memories

Don’t you love it when fictional characters voice the thoughts you’ve had time and again? Today, I happened to come across the Math Atheist comic from Calvin and Hobbes. I wish I could have come

This is actually a pretty cool idea. I wonder if these are
still sold somewhere.
Onderwijsgek at nl.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0-nl],
via Wikimedia Commons

up with that term when I was in school.

Numbers just didn’t make sense to me. The way I was taught how to do math lead me to the same conclusion Calvin reached: that there was no real world parallel, thus it had to be something like magic.

Then again, although the way it was taught made no sense to me, the fact numbers wouldn’t stay put on the paper made math even harder for me. Zeros still sometimes disappear on me, because I’ve learned to equate them with the concept of nothingness.

I guess my brain tells me that if “0” means nothing, then there’s no reason to see it. Or something. I don’t really know, but it sure made my life difficult way back when.

Of course, now I know that’s not really the case. I still can’t do math in my head, and the only part of a multiplication table I’m likely to use is the grid for knitting/crochet charts, but at least I have a grip on how it works, and how it applies to the world outside of school.

And, y’know, then there’s Pi Day in March. Why turn up a perfectly good opportunity to celebrate a geeky holiday with pie?


Mathematical Memories — 2 Comments

  1. Math atheist – I love the term. I am one. The mention of math puts me in a panic. I can do some mental math, but that's about it. I've hated math since 6th grade. I just don't "get it". I never have.

  2. We should start a support group!

    I still can't do it very well, but I can understand the concepts better than I used to. I know teaching methods may have changed since I was in school, but the amount of vitriol towards it doesn't seem to have.

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