I hated math when I was a kid.  Not just disliked it, I couldn’t stand it.  Why? Because I hated doing 800 problems of the same thing.  The repetition and practice was so boring and the unimaginative word problems about apples and cats were even worse.  I honestly think it’s why I still despise textbooks.  I see them as soul-draining devices that suck the fun and joy from learning.

Today I learned more about using Turtle Art.   I realized one thing, I totally shouldn’t have hated math when I was a kid.  Math is all about creativity and problem solving.  Math is art, patterns, shapes, designs, and so much more.  So why was I only exposed to 800 problems on a page?  Because we standardize everything and run kids through the motions. And we bore them.

I’m not a math teacher, and I won’t pretend to be a math expert.  I’m a learner and today when I was learning about coding in Turtle Art, I was amazed at the math skills involved in creating art using this program.

Angles.  Distance.  Greater or Less. Range.  Geometry. Addition. Subtraction. Directions. Problem solving. Patterns. Fractions. Symmetry. Rotational Symmetry. Reflection.

I could go on.  All of these skills, practiced in an authentic way, would have made me fall in love with math.  And you know what?  It would have made those 800 problems bearable. Sure there are skills we need, but if I never get the chance to use those skills in an authentic way?  I really don’t care about them.  Except I wanted my gold star.

Today?  I wanted to know what numbers to put in to make a colorful flower.  I wanted to try things and figure it out.  I needed help, but not too much, because I wanted to figure it out on my own.  Because the way my brain was stretching?  It felt good.  Real thinking, the kind that ends with satisfaction and pride.  The kind that is so much better than an A or a gold star.  The kind that’s real.

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