Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Vedic Math?

The other day, a commenter on this blog mentioned *Vedic Mathematics* - something I'd never heard of. Just now I googled it and found this cool video:

Certainly, mathematics is a vast subject. BUT, it's hard to believe that up until now, I've never even heard of this so-called Vedic Math. I am increasingly discovering that a major flaw with my formidable math education is that it focused purely on rote problem solving; that it never addressed the profound and diverse history of numerical computation.

Heck, just yesterday I learned from Gladwell's book that the Chinese may very well *outperform* in math because they come from an assiduous rice paddy culture; because they believe in working 365 days a year (instead of our *summer vacations*); and because their numbers are *shorter* and their children don't have to learn irregular, senseless names for numbers - we have "eleven" and "twelve" and they have the more logical "ten-one" and "ten-two".

Mathematics is too important a subject to lose kids on. I believe a varied approach and a whole lot more historical context would go a long ways toward piquing juvenile interest.

Many *unschoolers* believe subjects should not be pushed on students; that their own curiosity is pre-requisite for meaningful study.

On this point I somewhat disagree. I think it's the teacher's responsibility to MAKE a subject interesting.

Logically, if it's true that a bad teacher and a bad approach can turn a student off....then it follows there must exist an optimal teaching approach, right?

Soon, after educating myself on the subject, I'm going to show my 4.5 year old son how to do long multiplication with *Vedic* intersecting lines.

Then we're going to do the same problem, our regular, vertical long-hand way.

Then, we'll check it on his new favorite toy - a calculator that he bought for $1.

And, definitely, down the road, we'll come back and prove the Vedic method algebraically.

By the way, what a wonderful thing this free, never-ending education I get from blogging is!


Kamaraju Kusumanchi said...

I am surprised you did not know about this. There is a book called "vedic mathematics" and it is simply great. You can do stuff like 109^2, 78*72, 1/19, 11% of 42, 1/22 etc., in your head (without a pen). I read it 10-15 years ago when I was in India. Check it out if possible.

Gary Lee Galbusera Butcher said...

I would like to say that the more you look at Vedic Maths the more you will be astounded by its simplicity. Just think of a simple multiplication such as 12,000 x 12,000 and try it on your calculator! Your calculator will get something like 1.4400000E as an answer - what does that mean? Studying Vedic Maths will enable you to do this in your head in an instant. Have fun with it.

Anonymous said...

I was the commenter who wrote about Vedic Math initially. I follow Grover's set of Vedic Maths for three levels. Once my bookshop and distribution company is in place, Ill distribute them from India to the US !