Date: Jan 7, 2013 2:46 AM
Author: GS Chandy
Subject: Re: From math to science? Book suggestion for 9 year olds.

Jonathan Crabtree (JC) posted Nov 14, 2012 11:16 AM (GSC's remarks interspersed):
> My middle son was doing a dual math/science degree at
> the University of Melbourne. However because that is
> rare (and hard) exam clashes meant he dropped the
> math and will get just one qualification rather than
> two.
> At some stage it seems most leave math behind to
> leverage the foundation it provides and launch a
> career elsewhere.

It is indeed unfortunate (to put it mildly!) that many (have to) "leave math behind".

HOW "To ensure that math gets its due place in the educational system (AND in our minds), so that a sizable number of students get to like and hopefully even love math - for its beauty and its real-world utility?" (Instead of most of them 'fearing and loathing' math, which is the current case... instead of students like JC's son being forced by 'the system' to leave it behind - despite his possible liking for/interest in math).

I GUARANTEE that simplistic 'solutions' like "PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!" simply will not work.

This is, in fact, a reflection of a much deeper societal issue (in fact, of a whole bundle of societal issues): such things happening are just reflections of the fact that our 'societal systems' are hugely deficient in a great many ways.

Check out the attachments to my message at for a description of practical tools that could enable us to perceive our systems (of all kinds) with greater clarity than is generally the case today. I claim that - apart from the learning of math - even the learning of 'science' (or economics, or history, or whatever) by ALL students would be very significantly improved if we were to learn how to 'design better systems' - and apply those processes of design to our educational systems.
> However to keep young kids interested in the math
> journey to somewhere else, they might benefit from
> this link

Yes indeed - they would certainly benefit from that link. Lucy Hawking does seem to have (at least part of) something that could turn out to be a real and realistic answer. (I plan to get myself onto that website's mailing list). However, I believe Ms Hawking does not quite provide an 'adequate'/'complete' answer - an awareness of the basics of 'system design' is essential, and that seems (at my first glance at the website) to be lacking.