Develop Your Speed
Math is a skill that can be practiced. Understanding why 9 times 9 is 81 is great, but if you have to draw nine sets of nine dots an a piece of paper to figure out the answer, you’re going to look like an idiot. Here is my suggestion for developing basic math skill:
- Speed Math is a flash application that will drill you in math basics and help you become faster. This is probably the most efficient and effective ways to increase your basic math speed skills. Work through this program according to my suggestions and you will be able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide small numbers as fast and accurately as a calculator. You will be building your own brain-based calculator for small numbers.
- My Suggestion: Start at the first level (Addition: Basics) and drill yourself every day or every other day for 100 repetitions (Under # Of Questions, type in 100 and then hit the Reset Level button).
- When your performance shows 7 out of 10 stars, advance to the next level.
- Your goal here is twofold: first, memorize basic math facts; and second, develop speed in remembering them.
- Thinking is not part of the goal here, this should be pure memory.
- Tux Math or a similar math speed game will also help you develop skill and will probably be more fun than Speed Math. Mix and match as you see fit. Speed math will probably look a lot better if your boss catches you playing it. Speed Math is probably a more efficient use of your time, but if motivation becomes a factor, go ahead and blast some aliens with the power of math. Both games will also develop your ability to type numbers quickly on the keyboard.
General Math Knowledge
General math knowledge beyond the basic skills may be something that you’d like to work on. Perhaps it’s been a long time since you had a math class and you’re starting to forget a lot of what you have learned. The good news is that you will learn a lot faster the second time around. There is some general conceptual knowledge to be gained in math, and flashcards may be appropriate to help you remember formulas. Putting those formulas into action, however is a skill and requires practice. Here are my suggestions for teaching or re-teaching yourself mathematics.
- Rays Arithmetic Series (8 Volume Set) taught math to generations of students in the late 1800s. Math, for the most part, has not changed since then. These books lay out a complete progressive math curriculum from counting to calculus. As they were published long ago, they are in the public domain and are therefore, free of copyright. This makes them very inexpensive. I used Ray’s Algebra in teaching 8th graders successfully, although the dated vocabulary is an issue for children. Many if not all of these books can be found for free in electronic format online, while some have been published by Mott Media. A list of books in the series can be found at Dollar Homeschool.
- Statistics For Dummies (For Dummies (Math & Science)) might be what you’re looking for if you’d like to further your math studies; especially if you ever do experiments. Statistics is a useful branch of mathematics and it’s something I wish I remembered more of from college. Here’s an example of how it might come in handy: Let’s say you are interested in two weight-lifting routines, but you don’t know which one will work better. You decide to try both of them out for a couple weeks at a time and collect data on how much you progress each day. Now, the normal thing to do would be just to compare the end result and declare a winner. The problem is, one routine may have won because of luck. Unseen random forces may have conspired to promote one routine over the other. Statistics is how scientists tell if the results of their experiments are due to luck or not (although they’re never 100% sure). Looking for statistically significant correlations can provide interesting ideas about how you can improve your life. Visit the Health Correlator for more information about this.