By Ananya Rabeya
“I’m not a math person.”
I frequently take Uber or Lyft, and I cannot tell you how many of my drivers have winced when they found out I am a math teacher, followed by this very statement.
And each of those times, I thought, could it be that we have kept math a secret?
How would you feel if you thought everybody loved mathematics and they just haven’t found out about it yet? You would awaken the possibilities by re-imagining a millennium-old school mathematics curriculum.
Now imagine the light in the eyes of 14-year-olds, listening, understanding and being captivated by the patterns in the US progressive tax structure, so much so that they jump off their seats, rush to the nearest whiteboards to successfully devise a 7-step algorithm for their Federal Individual Income Tax Brackets. Soon, they will be choosing a location for their social entrepreneurial venture in the city, analyzing parameters in the city’s census data, planning ways to generate a retirement fund that can support the self, the local and the global community. If your eyes are shining by now, you will love their fossil fuel and net energy investigation to go along with their economy impact model.
Soon after, they will foray into the airline industry’s database, innovate ways to optimize travel schedules and navigation, studying how travel is affected by weather patterns. Join them as they make their way into restaurant kitchens, culinary institutes, and food banks, studying food distribution, health needs, and nutrition factors. If you have been craving for a creativity jolt, join their expedition to Peacock in the Desert, and the masterclass art that will follow.
Finding inspiration from the beauty and elegance around them, and from mathematicians of the past and present, our Downtown School Students will be getting to do what we never did - deep-dive into thematic mathematics. Financial Literacy, Travel, Food, Census, ArtEast, History, Coding and Ethnomathematics are the themes they are plunging into this year. If you haven’t had a taste of modern mathematical learning expeditions, and would like to see mini mathematicians in the making, we welcome you to the heart of our math campus filled with shining eyes and awakened minds.
As for my Uber, Lyft drivers, this is what I tell them: “It’s not you; it’s me.” That day isn’t far though when my next generation of mathematicians will be bringing them home to Mathematics.