I first started paying attention to online math videos back in 2011 when, just by coincidence, several different friends pointed out Khan Academy to me and suggested that I should do something like it.
The idea was appealing in that I love talking about math, but essentially trying to duplicate what Khan Academy had done didn’t seem like that great of a pursuit. As I began to look around I saw lots of videos online with adults talking about math. It seemed to me that kids see adults talking about math all the time, but don’t really see kids talking about math nearly as much. I thought that maybe showing kids talking about math would be fun because:
(1) The ideas wouldn’t be prepared ahead of time and probably wouldn’t flow in a perfectly straight line like the “adults talking about math” videos often do,
(2) There would probably be many mistakes and false starts, so kids could see that math isn’t always a perfectly perfect process, and
(3) The ideas involved in solving a problem might be a little different or a little surprising compared to how an adult would approach the same problem.
Last night I had my younger son talk through problem #23 from the 2000 AMC 8. I chose this problem because my older son had struggled with it, but I thought that my younger son might have fun with it, too. His solution to this problem is has basically everything that I wanted to show about kids doing math.
The problem is here:
I’m sorry that the video is 7 1/2 minutes, but not all of the problems go super quickly. He has lots of ideas, has a few false starts, learns from those false starts, and in the end finds a clever solution to a really challenging problem. That’s what learning math looks like, and that’s what doing math looks like!