Recreational Mathematics

maths isnt everyrhing

I’ve done a bit of maths in my time. I’ve got a dealer, she keeps me steady – doesn’t allow me to do too much, that sort of thing. Had a bad experience back in sixth form. Had to go cold turkey for a while.

Maths is a dirty word. The way it slips out leaves your mouth feeling violated. I thought I’d never have to touch it again after leaving 6th Form but I was wrong – the craving was still there.

It began in year five, or was it six? Either way, I loved mental maths – mental arithmetic, head sums, magic – there are many names for it. We’d all have a special little book for the sole purpose of the mental maths quiz at the end of each day, and I secretly enjoyed it. The way the numbers went together – find pairs which make 10: 2 and 8, 4 and 6, 7 and 3. Discover the power of nines. Yeah, I got carried away.I began to see shapes everywhere and like to work out their area and perimeter. I didn’t tell my friends, they’d have been ashamed.

This carried on for years, but then I took it too far. I chose to study A level maths. It started out as the greatest thrill I had ever known – Differentiation! Integration! Such sweet words of joy! Then it just got silly.

Sine? Cosine? Tangent? I didn’t care. Maths was ruined when it came to integration by parts. I crashed. Got a C. Darn.

But then I found a new strain of maths: Recreational Maths. Vi Hart is my dealer and I found her on YouTube. Oh YouTube, thou fountain of all that is pure and lovely!

Who’d have thunk it? Maths could be fun again! Shapes held an innate happiness once more! I learned about the ‘Pi is wrong’ movement and now I hold a deep respect for Möbius strips. Prime numbers are now my crack.

Don’t believe that maths can be fun? You’re probably right as I regard myself to be ever so slightly unhinged but take a look at these videos anyway. Who knows? You might find your love for maths once more. I mean, if this girl can make the 12 Days Of Christmas interesting again, I think she can do just about anything.


Cos it’s true…


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