The Thrill of Converting Math-Haters Into Appreciators Through Inquiry

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A good portion of the adult population hates math, and a lot of people believe they aren't good at it so they avoid it completely. Those perceptions often come from their experiences learning math in school, which may not have been positive. In her Atlantic article Jessica Lahey writes about a Cornell professor who takes special pride in teaching non-math majors to appreciate numbers. He does it with an inquiry-based, hands-on approach that would likely work for kids learning math for the first time too. Lahey writes:

"Twelve years of compulsory education in mathematics leaves us with a populace that is proud to announce they cannot balance their checkbook, when they would never share that they were illiterate. What we are doing — the way we are doing it — results in an enormous sector of the population that hates mathematics. The current system disenfranchises so many students."