On Tuesday night, Katie invited me to go to school with her. No, not one that she's teaching, but one that she was attending. Why? They were going to be meeting a pretty special guy named Mike Byster, also known as the "Human Calculator" and the creator of Brainetics. Here's a quick video introducing him. It's about seven minutes long.
Simply put, this guy is amazing. He spent nearly two hours with a group of about 50 adult students as well as some spouses and children showing them how he uses patterns and alternate methodology to solve math problems, all in his head. And then he taught us how to do it. Scarily enough, it works.
But the best part is that he's not a hardnosed mathematician. Heck, he's not even a mathematician at all. He's a guy who has discovered he has a gift for math and enjoys it so much that he wants to share this gift... for free. He makes 500 school appearances a year and doesn't charge one red cent. He just feels it's that important to get kids to enjoy learning.
I remember being in school and being graded not just on having the right answer, but the way in which I discovered the answer. And it had better be the same way the teacher did it. Hell, that was half my grade most of the time. Mike thinks this is the wrong way to go. Sure you can grade students on how they do it, but you have to be open to new ideas that they come up with so long as they can be proven to work consistently.
He told a story about being on some Chicago news show when he was younger demonstrating his abilities. The host asked if he could do anything else and Mike asked if they had a deck of cards. He showed how with just a glance, he could tell which one card was missing from a deck and also showed how to count cards. This news show predated the World Wide Web, so there was no way for anyone else to really see it around the country quickly. But, within a few hours of it airing, he received notification from nearly every casino in the US that he was blacklisted. Heh.
I sincerely wish this guy was my math teacher in grade school.
Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Hey lady, what part of the signs that read "Cell Phone Use is Strictly Prohibited in the Gym" are you having trouble with? I don't seem to recall any caveats that say "If you're on a treadmill, go ahead and take a call" or "feel free to talk loudly on the phone while using the leg adductor or leg extension machines," do you?
Please show me where it says you can do this.
THEN LEAVE THE DAMN CELLPHONE IN YOUR LOCKER OR CAR OR I'M GOING TO PUT IT SOME PLACE WHERE YOU'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO ANSWER A CALL AGAIN!