What is school maths about?

You may have found yourself asking this question during the course of your studies. If you have, kudos to you! It’s natural to want to know the purpose of what we are forced to learn.

As I see it one main strand of school maths is to facilitate, on a societal level, our need to understand, and to a certain extent control, the universe! School maths does this by introducing people to the language of nature, which is mathematics (as observed by Galileo).

So it is that a lot of school maths is about providing the necessary concepts, language, and skills needed by future scientists, engineers, economists, etc to do just that; to describe, explain, predict, and control our environment, hopefully for the benefit of our species, as well as that of the planet, and all lifeforms on it.

At Edina Tuition my aim is to inspire you to study maths, to study it better, to understand it better, to aim high, and to achieve success. My hope is that along the way many other small questions will also be addressed so that you will be able to clarify for yourself the kind of things that cause you to become stuck.

Simple wikipedia

This gives simple explanations for things like Pythagoras’ Theorem.

In mathematics, the Pythagorean theorem or Pythagoras’ theorem is a statement about the sides of a right triangle.

One of the angles of a right triangle is always equal to 90 degrees. This angle is the right angle. The two sides next to the right angle are called the legs and the other side is called the hypotenuse. The hypotenuse is the side opposite to the right angle, and it is always the longest side.

The Pythagorean theorem says that the area of a square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the areas of the squares on the legs. In the picture below, the area of the blue square added to the area of the red square makes the area of the purple square. It was named after the Greek mathematician Pythagoras:

If the lengths of the legs are a and b, and the length of the hypotenuse is c, then, a^2+b^2=c^2.

Carol Dwek

Has a website on Mindset:

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.

Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships. When you read Mindset, you’ll see how.

This is the basic message that I want to get across to all my tutees. Maths can be tamed, and your understanding, and your grade, improved by the right effort.

Her section on Test your Mindset though is a bit disappointing, basically it is the same question asked 16 times. I tried it and came out with a fixed mindset, but I could just have easily responded in such a way as to be informed at the end of the “test” that I had an open mindset. The test is far too simplistic to be of any use.