I started making math videos with my kids about 4 years ago. One of hopes was that the videos would be useful for other kids because I wanted to show them what it looks like when kids do math. Not that it is necessarily super different than what it looks like when adults do math, but I suspect that most of the time kids see adults doing math they are seeing something that is a little more polished than average. I thought seeing kids doing math would be more motivational or instructive to kids.

Last night’s talk with my son is almost exactly what I had in mind. My intention was to review a topic that we’d covered in the morning, but right at the beginning he saw an alternate approach so we went in that direction. When we returned to the original approach – for what I thought was going to be a short review – what we covered in the morning had slipped out of his mind! It took 3 or 4 minutes (and a couple of false starts) for him to recall the prior approach.

But that’s always been the point – “doing math” doesn’t mean that you take a quick, straight line path to the answer. There’s usually lots of false starts – even with things you’ve seen before. Also, as the first minute or so of this video illustrates, sometimes you suddenly see something that you’ve been studying for a while in a totally different light. Those unexpected moments of inspiration are always really fun.

Here’s last night’s talk:

Here’s the talk from the morning that I was trying to review, too: