Math Blog: The Learning Process (Plus New Videos)

I recently watched a video on New Year’s resolutions that got me.

In the video, a little girl pointed out that if she wanted to ride a bike, it took more than a resolution. It took a willingness to fall and try again and again.

That illustration seemed to capture very well the learning process. It’s easy to start the new year with resolutions of how much better things will be (or how much better math class will be), but the reality of getting there will involve taking steps…and being willing to get back up when we fall.

As students try to improve problem-solving skills and stretch themselves, they will likely get problems wrong, just as we will fall off a bike when learning to ride. It’s part of the learning process. And as you try to teach math from a biblical worldview, you will likely fall short of what you hoped. Make sure you’re striving for the right goals–for God’s goals. But if you are, don’t give up–get back on that bike 🙂


New Videos
For the last several months, I’ve been working on an eCourse supplement to go alongside Book 2 of Principles of Mathematics…and it’s now finished! In the videos, I present the various concepts step-by-step. Whether you’re using the Principles of Mathematics program or not, feel free to check out some of the sample videos. I’ve put together a page with more information about the video eCourse.

 


Feedback
This feedback made my day yesterday.

“Thanks again. We love this book – it’s the first year in about the last 8 years that we haven’t had tears in our math time with this child, and she loves seeing the connections in math to real things that God created.” – Debby [referring to Principles of Mathematics: Book 1]

Free Math Video & Information
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Back-to-School Math Encouragement and Free Resources

Transforming Math

It’s the time of year again where many of you may be heading back to school after a summer break.

Here are some free resources to help encourage/equip you to teach math from a biblical worldview as you go.

  • Free Transforming Math Video – Watch this 18-minute video to get a glimpse into how biblical principles really can transform math, making it an exciting exploration of God’s creation. When you sign up for the video, you’ll also get a free read-aloud story that illustrates how often we really do use numbers, and a series of emails with other information and reminders to help you teach from a biblical worldview.
    Transforming Math
  • Math, Lightning, & Thunder – I recently blogged over on The Creation Club about how we can use math to help us approximate the distance to a lightning strike. Even a summer thunderstorm gives us an opportunity to explore God’s creation and marvel at God’s greatness (after all, He’s the one who makes the lightening and brings forth the wind – see Jeremiah 51:16).
  • Upcoming Articles – I have articles coming out this fall/winter in both the Old Schoolhouse Magazine and Homeschool Enrichment. If you get either of those magazines, be sure to take a look.
  • Sample Lessons – Watch a free preview of a lesson on place value, one on fractions, and one on lines and angles.
Note: If you’ve found these resources helpful, please share with a friend.

Math eCourse Coming Soon

Principles of Mathematics eCourse

Well, it’s finally public: I’m working on an eCourse to go alongside Principles of Mathematics: Book 1.

The eCourse will feature a short video to go with every lesson in the textbook. The videos will walk through the material covered in the curriculum, making it a perfect supplement for auditory or visual learners, or any student who needs a little more guidance in math.

Anyway, this video offers a very short overview!

Please leave a comment with your thoughts. The eCourse is also now available for preorder at a special price of $49.99. This price will grant access to the eCourse for the 2016-2017 school year.

[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”Bonus: Color, Light, and Math”] I recently posted a blog about Color, Math, & Light over on The Creation Club website. Hope you enjoy! Color, Light, and Math[/thrive_text_block]

 

 

 

Improbability of Evolution Math Lesson Plan

I was pleased to learn about this middle school math lesson plan that uses math to show the improbability of evolution. (The main math concept is probability, along with large numbers and scientific notation, although others are also used.) While designed specifically for a public school setting, it could be easily adapted for Christian or homeschool. (Thank you, Mr. Karl Priest, for putting it together and letting me know about it!)

I especially loved the suggestion given to have students try to write tally marks to help drive home how much a million is. Coupled with quotes like the one below, it brings home the point that, even from a human reasoning perspective, evolution doesn’t make sense:

“Imagine 10^50 blind persons each with a scrambled Rubik cube, and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form. You then have the chance of arriving by random shuffling of just one of the many biopolymers on which life depends. The notion that not only biopolymers but the operating programme of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order.” Fred Hoyle, “The Big Bang in Astronomy”, New Scientist, Vol. 92, No. 1280 (1981): p.527

evo-mathI would just add that evolution and creation can’t be proved—they occurred in the past. The issue ultimately comes down to faith, and that faith shouldn’t rest in our human reasoning of probability, but in the Word of the God who was there and has told us what happened. However, math does show us how even from a human reasoning perspective, evolution doesn’t make sense…and this lesson plan does a wonderful job showing that.

As the cartoon at the end of the lesson plan (and shown here) reminds us, you can’t reason someone into the kingdom of heaven. God has to do a work to change a heart. Let’s make sure we’re sharing the gospel with people as we remind them that creation clearly proclaims a Creator.

Note: If you’re stuck on how to begin sharing the gospel, check out the free resources at LivingWaters.com. He has a lot of helpful training materials to help.

Free Resource: Truth and the Transcendent

truth-transcendentA friend recently let me know that Truth and the Transcendent is now being offered for free online. I was really excited to see that…as now it means I can share it with all of you!

This book, published by Answers in Genesis, is one that I read years ago and found most helpful in wrapping my mind around how math points us to the Creator. As you might guess from the subtitle (The Origin, Nature, & Purpose of Mathematics), Truth & the Transcendent explores the philosophy behind math: what is it and what is its purpose.

My favorite chapter is Chapter 5, where Mr. Zimmerman points out that within math, we have the opportunity to behold God’s glory, allowing that to transform us from the inside out. He begins the chapter like this:

Why is it so important for the Christian to behold the glory of God reflected in mathematics or anywhere else? Simply because beholding the glory of God is the prime directive for spiritual growth.

He goes on to explain that so often we as Christians fall into the trap of trying to make ourselves more Christ-like through simply changing our actions, neglecting the reality that we’re transformed from the inside out as we behold God’s glory.

The key to resolving this tension between what is God’s part and what is my part, as a Christian, is found in II Corinthians 3,4, and 5, the linchpin being 3:18. “But we all, with uncovered faces, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the likeness to Him, from one degree of splendor to another, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” I become like Christ by beholding His glory.

As we realize how mighty, faithful, wise, etc., God is, it drives away our fear and pride. And within math–as well as every other area of life–we have an opportunity to behold God’s glory, letting our hearts be amazed at His handiwork and reminded to trust Him completely.

Math is an opportunity to behold God’s glory, as well as to complete the tasks He’s given us to do. As Mr. Zimmerman says,

Christian teachers, then, motivate their classes in two valid ways to learn mathematics. First, mathematics exhibits the glory of God, necessary to growth in His image, which is the destiny of Christians. Second, mathematics equips students to care for the creation, under the divine command.

Here’s the link to read Truth and the Transcendent for yourself. If you do, please leave a comment below with your thoughts. And until next time, remember to behold God’s glory as you study math, reflecting on His faithfulness that makes math possible and knowing that He’ll be just as faithful to everything else He says in His Word.

It’s Here! New Biblical Math Curriculum – Plus Video and Upcoming Events

curriculumIt’s still hard for me to grasp the reality that it’s actually done. Writing this math curriculum has been an amazing journey, fraught with unexpected delays (such as a concussion that left me unable to work much on it for more than a year) and challenges. Yet as I look back, I see God’s provision each step along the way.

11071007_10206679672255310_7616273997605696522_nThank you, dear readers, for being a part of that provision—for your prayers and your encouragement. I can’t tell you how much it has meant to me. (And please don’t stop praying! I’m still working on Year 2…which is due to come out late this year/early next.)

We decided to extend our pre-order pricing for a little longer, so you can still grab the curriculum at a reduced price you’d like a copy.

Also, I’ll be speaking at a couple of upcoming conventions and would love to see you there (I’ll be at the Master Books booth).

Here are the details:

Virginia – HEAV’s Virginia Homeschool Convention
June 11-13, 2015

Arizona – AFHE Home Education Convention
July 10-11, 2015

As you begin planning for next fall’s school year, don’t let the thought of math scare you. Math is a way of describing God’s creation—it’s a testimony to His faithfulness, wisdom, and greatness. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this short video I made a couple years ago for a quick reminder of how math can be seen from a biblical worldview. This version includes an ending I recently added that offers a quick overview of the curriculum too.

Biblical Math Curriculum Coming Soon

Principles of Mathematics: Biblical Worldview Curriculum

For those of you who’ve been wondering where I’ve been…I’m still here! I’ve just been under tight deadlines to finish up a junior high math curriculum in order to have it available this spring. Master Books will be publishing the curriculum. I’d appreciate your prayers for the project, and I will try to post more details soon :).

If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for our biblical math blog updates to keep posted.

Edit: I just posted a few more details about this biblical worldview curriculum if you’d like to take a look.

When Math Feels Daunting – Plus Summer Reading Coupon

Math—especially upper-level math—can feel daunting. Teaching it can seem insurmountable.

How do we do it? Step by step. Whether a course, concept, or problem, it becomes doable when we break it down into steps.

In our next post, we’ll take a look at some ways to help to teach your child problem-solving skills. For now, I just want to point out that the same principle of breaking problems down to steps applies to teaching. While it may be tempting to look at your child’s whole future math courses and wonder how you’ll get through it, just take each day step-by-step. Trust that God will provide solutions at each stage. He gives us our daily bread, not grace for the rest of our lives. Run to the One who knows math inside out and seek His grace and wisdom. As you do, you just might find math class teaching you (and your students) more than just math.

Side note: Summertime is a great time of year to explore supplemental math resourcesBiblical Math Resources you might not have time for during the school year. To help, we’re offering 10% off the math resources in our store through June 30, 2014. Just use code SUMMER10.

Whether you have your older students work through something like Revealing Arithmetic (just have them read the first section of each chapter to gain a biblical view of arithmetic) or Mathematics: Is God Silent?, or have fun Exploring the World of Mathematics together or doing some of the hands-on suggestions in Revealing Arithmetic, we hope you enjoy!

Remember, too, that your library may have some hands-on math books with great summertime ideas, and feel free to explore our blog for some other resources we’ve mentioned over the years.

Math Moment with Divi: Counting the Stars

For a long time, I’ve dreamed of using video as a vehicle to communicate about God’s handiwork in math. Below is my first attempt: a 35-second video in which Divi (a division sign) sets out to count the stars…and realizes just how much bigger God is than we could ever imagine.

Please let me know what you think…and feel free to share the video with a friend.