Listen to the math...

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.

You can't?




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ha..ha.ha... if she has enough breath to talk while on the need to bump her program up a few notches. ;P

Sybil Law

OMG. I wish that guy had been my math teacher, too. I will never forget algebra, and I had the right answer, but I got it some freaking insane way, and the teacher was just like, "But you're supposed to do this!", and I was so pissed. I just don't THINK the same way - esp. when it comes to math! Besides - I had the right fricking answer, so who the hell cares, right? Grrr.
(Apparently, I still have issues with that. Haha)
That lady with the cell phone is yet another example of self absorbed, entitled assholes. GRRR.


If only I had a math teacher like that back in school I may be able to add 1 and 1 today. Seriously, I suck when it comes to math.


I had a math teacher like him. In fact, I wouldn't even LIKE math if I hadn't been privately tutored by Mr. Shields every morning with my best friend Jackie before school started. It was the turning point. Now I try to tell my daughter that she has to find a way that fits, and it might be different than her teacher's.


I could write an entire post about maths (yes we put an s on it) teaching!
I loved maths and studied through to age 18. I love helping my kids with theirs, only to be told "We have to do it this way, or that way". Bollocks! teaching complicated methods is so confusing. We did so much better being taught pure numbers, I'm convinced of it.
(Sorry - rant over!)


I'm saving this post for my wife. She does three or four calculations with most words she sees (giving each letter a number based on it's alphabetic order). She remembers most numbers she sees or hears with photographic certainty. She even dreams about numbers.

I don't even know what 7x8 is!


Dr. Bill Buchanan. He was my 5th grade math teacher, he was the one who showed us the answer but why the answer was, and its relationship to other problems. Stuff I try to instill in my kids. Dr. Bill was a great teacher, even though he had a warped sense of humor.

He'd put a loud bell alarm clock in some kids desk before a test then laugh his ass off when it went off and the poor kid pissed him/herself.

Unfortunately I also had Doretha Tobin who's way was the only way despite the answer. Bit(&.


Like the people who talk on their cell on the toilet - who wants to listen to that? Who wants to talk to someone when they are working out? Who can even TALK while on the treadmill? I sure can't! Get off the phone!


Hell yeah on the cell phone thing!!!


How much fun would it be to jack up the intensity level of someone else's workout?


It drove me nuts to lease points over methodology.


If I had a teacher like him, I may have actually enjoyed math.


Can't hurt to keep the love going, right?


It's BS that it has to be one way and not another with most teachers. Stupid maths.


I do the alphabet/numerical translation when I'm playing mental games with license plates. I look at them and try to make the first half of characters equal the other half. Don't ask. It's weird. But it keeps me awake when driving.


I LOVE the alarm clock idea! I want to be a teacher just to do that now.


I cannot stand them. They deserve to have bad things done with their phones.




Didn't you sigh loudly and turn to her and shout, "SERIOUSLY?"

You'd scare me if you did that. But I would never, ever get on a treadmill. That's just stupid.

Iron Fist

You could always ask her if she's about finished with the "jaw abductor" or if she's going to squeeze a few more sets in.


That's just way too funny and probably far too clever for her to get. ;-)


I considered it, but I doubt she'd be so aware that she'd think it was being directed at her.

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