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82 pages1 hour

'Mathematical Thaumaturgy' makes ‘lovers of mathematics’ out of students who were previously ‘haters of mathematics’.

A must read for all and sundry.

Publisher: Alabi StephenReleased: Nov 16, 2017ISBN: 9781386056492Format: book

**AUTHOR **

Over the years, in my teaching experience, I’ve been able to figure out that the secret of knowing mathematics is dependent on your level of love for mathematics. Most of the mathematics we teach students in schools today is too boring and terrifying, which makes most students to develop intense dislike for the subject.

It was Professor Arthur Benjamin who said, we learn mathematics essentially for three reasons: calculation, application, and inspiration.

So thinking of it, mathematics itself should serve as a source of inspiration to the students, and as a stimulant which moves the students to love, to learn, and to know mathematics.

The truth is, too much of the mathematics we learn in school is not effectively motivated and the students are not inspired to study the subject. We’ve only succeeded in making mathematics which should be the source of inspiration a source of horror to the students. When most students are face to face with a mathematics question, they are often petrified, and this should not be so. Remember that we learn mathematics to think logically, critically and creatively. This means that, a student who doesn’t know mathematics may not be a good reasoner, and he is the leader of tomorrow. How will he handle certain problems if he can’t think logically and critically? Did I just hear you say, you don’t know?

Therefore, in proffering solution to a problem like this, I have a suggestion. To make hot water cold, the solution is either leaving it to time or to simply apply cold water to it. In the same way, to solve this problem in mathematics, time may or may not solve it, but mathematics will, and mathematics teachers have a major role to play. That role is to make their students love the subject by employing some of the tricks and methods outlined in this book and other resource materials they can lay their hand upon. This suggestion has proven itself worthy because I have personally put it to work by testing its effect on my students who hate mathematics, and the results have been wonderful.

We as mathematics teachers should not just come into a boring class and introduce a boring topic to some boring students. We should try to make the class lively to get the attention of our students through the power vested in mathematics. Mathematics is full of many beautiful, inspiring and magical properties. This book contains just a handful of them. We should try to educate through entertainment and give the students the inspiration required to fall in love with numbers and the beautiful pattern they display. Inspiration is the lost key in the teaching and understanding of mathematics in our nation but now has been found and we will use it to our utmost advantage. Or wouldn’t it be great, if every once in a while, we learn mathematics simply because it was fun, beautiful or because it excited the mind?

My goal therefore is to make ‘lovers of mathematics’ out of students who were previously ‘haters of mathematics’. The goal which I believe will be accomplished through this book.

ALABI STEPHEN

1.1 FAST MULTIPLICATION TRICK

Here is a trick you will find handy when multiplying two-digit numbers with the same first digit, and whose second digits sum up to 10. If you have learned how to square two-digit numbers that ends in 5 faster, this trick works just the same way but with little addition. So how does it work? The answer begins the same way it did before (by multiplying the first digit by the next higher digit), followed by attaching the product of the second digits.

For example, let’s try to multiply 63×67. (Notice that both numbers begin with 6 and the last digits sum to 10i.e.3+7=10). So you take the first digit 6 and multiply it by the next higher digit 7, 6×7=42. So the result must be in the form 42 something. The something is gotten by multiplying the last digits of the numbers together, (3×7=21) and attaching it to your first result. So42 something becomes 4221. Confirm that with your calculator. The process can be visualized as follows:

63

x 3×7 67

6×7

42 21= 4221.

Come on now, let’s try a different one: 82×88

82

x 2×8 88

8×9

72 16= 7216.

Now, it’s your turn: Try 26×24.

How does the answer begin? With 2×3=6. How does it end? With 6×4=24. Thus, 26×24=624. Look at the process:

26

x 6×4 24

2×3

6 24= 624.

Performing the trick

Ask someone from the audience (who has a calculator) to give you any two-digit number between 10 and 99. As soon as the person yells out a digit, you give him another digit and ask him to multiply them together. But you have to be careful because the digit you give him must have the same first digit as the one yelled out by your volunteer and you have to make sure

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