• Annette

    So true. I remember when I saw a presentation that linked mathematical concepts to famous art works (using triangles and other shapes in paintings) as a college student. For the first time in my life (and 13 years into my math education), I thought math might be something other than the (to me) dry, meaningless equations I robotically worked out every day in class in either boredom or frustration.

  • Larry

    This is why architecture is such a nice field. Its answering the question, how can I turn these boring physics equations and engineering issues to make something beautiful.

    The worst architecture, the works which depress people, are the works which are functional but with no sense of the aesthetic, the human.

  • Your perceived subtext (“don’t trust your perceptions. What relationships and patterns you may see may well be a delusion or illusion.”) is a profoundly powerful thing to impart to a young learner, and leads the way to inquiry, creativity, and problem solving. It leads the way to destroying not a child, not millennia of valuable human culture, but rather promotes investigation and understanding instead of taking unexplained authoritative assertions for granted.

    Part of learning involves disabusing an individual of prior misconceptions–and it’s a very exciting and empowering thing indeed! When we tell a toddler that spots a coyote “No, that’s not a doggie–that’s a different animal, a coyote” the subtext is also that the toddler’s perceptions and assumptions were wrong, but it hardly breaks the child! When we help a grade schooler understand optical illusions, we’re directly telling them –no subtext required– that their perceptions aren’t always to be trusted. And what 3rd grader doesn’t love optical illusions, magic tricks, and jaunty conspiracies?? It’s part of their development! And when a high schooler debates ethics of using the A-bomb, or of stem-cell research, or of factory farming, we’re asking them to challenge their prior assumptions. Failure to do so risks rearing generations of shallow thinkers, too scared to question status quo and unable to tackle problems facing our world today and in the future.

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