Popular Science

Why this algebra teacher has her students knit in class

Knitting isn’t just for passing time.
close up of a person knitting

I chose to eliminate pencil, paper, calculator (gasp) and textbook from the classroom completely.


One snowy January day, I asked a classroom of college students to tell me the first word that came to mind when they thought about mathematics. The top two words were “calculation” and “equation.”

When I asked a room of professional mathematicians the same question, neither of those words were mentioned; instead, they offered phrases like “critical thinking” and “problem-solving.”

This is unfortunately common. What professional mathematicians think of as mathematics is entirely different from what the general population thinks of as

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