Math is a historic, complex, and universal tool. It plays an essential role in the world and is depended on daily by all people. There are several branches of mathematics, ranging from simple counting and general comparisons of numbers to physics and theorizing math. I have always been intrigued and amazed by math and how extensive it truly is.

Being a bit obsessive, I love that math makes sense. It answers our millions of questions about the world and backs itself up with data and rationality. Since prehistoric times people have been collaborating and passing on mathematical ideas until they were officially proven, perfected, and formally theorized. Math is a stable yet expanding tradition. 
 
I have been exposed to elementary math as both an elementary student and as a college student preparing to teach elementary students. Although I learned about the same basic concepts (addition, subtraction, etc.) during these two periods of my life, my perspective and understanding of them were dramatically different. In college I took the time to think about the why and how of math rather than just using operations. This experience made me realize that
even the simplest components of math have deeper, more intricate meanings. 
 
Elementary and pre-college math is not all that I’ve worked with. By also majoring in math, I’ve studied trigonometry, calculus, linear algebra, modern algebra, probability and statistics, Euclidean geometry, and discrete math. The amount and variety of information that I was exposed to in these classes is unreal. The methods that I used to learn were diverse. I did calculations, worked with tools and manipulatives (from counters to calculators to computers), drew tables and graphs, solved and formally wrote proofs (my personal favorite), and even planned and taught lessons. Considering the amount of time and exposure that I’ve had with math (especially compared to non-math majors), it is incredible that there are still many more branches and topics that I have never even heard of! That’s another great feature of math – there is always more to learn! Even those with PhDs are able to continually
expand their understanding.

As far as knowing the history of math and how it came to be, I’m no pro. I remember the names of a few key players, including Euclid, Euler, Pythagoras, Fibonacci,
Descartes, the Egyptians, and the Greeks. Besides the guys with ideas
conveniently named after them, I couldn’t tell you who contributed what to the
math that we now know and love. That is something that I hope to delve into this
semester!

 


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