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Math Is Inside Us All

07.05.11 | 1 Comment

The playful dichotomy that exists between ‘math people’ and ‘English people’ is certainly fun to joke about, especially when we talk about our grades in school. I have many friends who often express their amazement that I am such a good writer, and I myself often wonder at my friends’ abilities to solve intricate mathematics problems.

What’s interesting, however, is that a new study suggests that just as we humans are ‘programmed’ with superior language-acquisition skills, we are also ‘programmed’ to understand basic mathematical concepts as well.

In other words, there’s no such thing as a ‘math person’ and an ‘English person,’ though we certainly develop certain interests later in our schooling.

According to the New York Times, a recent study asked basic Euclidean geometry question to adults and children in the West and also to adults and children in an isolated Amazon tribe. One group had formal geometry training, and one group had none.

The results?

Well, see for yourself. Both groups, surprisingly, received similar results on the test, which, according to researchers, suggests that we humans have innate understandings of geometrical principles. The extension of that conclusion is, of course, that we also have innate understandings of mathematical principles.

It simply takes some good schooling in order to tease out those understandings and make them useful in our daily lives.

So next time one of your students complains that he or she just isn’t a ‘math person,’ you’ll be able to respond with a quick affirmation of his or her abilities, some encouragement, and firm teaching.


This guest post is contributed by Barbara Jolie, who writes for online classes.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: barbara.jolie876@gmail.com.

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