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CodaKiller

How to make math fun?

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Well I enjoy programing since it gives me the ability to create things, I need to improve my math skills but I just don't find math interesting. How can I make it enjoyable in the same way programming is?

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Perhaps you should try applying it. If problem-solving alone is not satisfying enough for you, it could be a good idea to solve problems where the result is useful in overcoming obstacles in some creation process. I'll give it some more thought, but I can't think of much really. I love the intricacy of mathematics, that's what makes it fun for me. Basically the same reason I like programming. Does that not intrigue you, or have you not thought of it that way? It's hard to tell since I don't know your level of math, are we talking graduate, undergraduate, high-school?

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Making Math fun is a matter of changing it up a bit. Here is a very simple Math example:

a = 5 + 2

What is a?

Total Guns = 5 + 2

= 7

7 Total Guns

So my point is, sometimes relating the subject to something you like can help majorly when doing any subject.

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When I first studied linear algebra in univeristy I must say I had several problems, since my math skills are really weak. In addition, it was too abstract for my taste, and I was not able to understand what most of those things were used for.
Now I'm using many of those things in my raytracer.
The same thing applies to calculus and probability.
So I have to agree: if you don't find math interesting, find a math related application that you find interesting and code it. You will then be forced to study what you need in order to complete the project.

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Original post by Omid Ghavami
Perhaps you should try applying it. If problem-solving alone is not satisfying enough for you, it could be a good idea to solve problems where the result is useful in overcoming obstacles in some creation process. I'll give it some more thought, but I can't think of much really. I love the intricacy of mathematics, that's what makes it fun for me. Basically the same reason I like programming. Does that not intrigue you, or have you not thought of it that way? It's hard to tell since I don't know your level of math, are we talking graduate, undergraduate, high-school?


High school level and I do believe the only way I can stand to spend the time learning it is if I could apply it to something but I have no idea what? I could go to some kind of class for it to force myself to use it but I'd prefer to spend time learning something I'm interested in.

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As suggested earlier, start by coming up with a problem that you must solve. Here are some examples.

1) make a ball bounce around on a 2D screen (ie billiard balls). Once you have the math working, make it interesting by adding different shaped objects in the way to deflect your ball

2) Create a projectile cannon that lets you shoot objects. User can control the angle and power and you need to calculate the trajectory. Make it interesting by adding wind forces, gravity and objects to hit.

3) Create a 2D top down shooter. kinda like centipede or 1942 (old games from the 80's) To make it interesting add the math so that your targets not only come down the screen, but also try to come after the player and avoid your bullets.

Each of these suggestions are 2D type games. All will require a graphics component, which I'm not sure if that is going to be a problem for you or not.

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check out the MIT OCW (just google that) they have pretty good math classes, but i would recommend the physics classes with walter lewin (8.0*). You get to apply math to physics, and the prof is amazing.

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Original post by mmakrzem
As suggested earlier, start by coming up with a problem that you must solve. Here are some examples.

1) make a ball bounce around on a 2D screen (ie billiard balls). Once you have the math working, make it interesting by adding different shaped objects in the way to deflect your ball

2) Create a projectile cannon that lets you shoot objects. User can control the angle and power and you need to calculate the trajectory. Make it interesting by adding wind forces, gravity and objects to hit.

3) Create a 2D top down shooter. kinda like centipede or 1942 (old games from the 80's) To make it interesting add the math so that your targets not only come down the screen, but also try to come after the player and avoid your bullets.

Each of these suggestions are 2D type games. All will require a graphics component, which I'm not sure if that is going to be a problem for you or not.


I am so much beyond that it would bore me for starters and second I would find it useless to do the math myself when there are so many free physics APIs out there.

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Original post by ibebrett
check out the MIT OCW (just google that) they have pretty good math classes, but i would recommend the physics classes with walter lewin (8.0*). You get to apply math to physics, and the prof is amazing.


Yeah thats pretty awesome, I'll defiantly give it a try!

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Original post by CodaKiller
I am so much beyond that it would bore me for starters and second I would find it useless to do the math myself when there are so many free physics APIs out there.


If that is the case, why do you want to do the math at all, if you can let the physics API do it for you?

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Original post by CodaKiller
Quote:
Original post by Omid Ghavami
Perhaps you should try applying it. If problem-solving alone is not satisfying enough for you, it could be a good idea to solve problems where the result is useful in overcoming obstacles in some creation process. I'll give it some more thought, but I can't think of much really. I love the intricacy of mathematics, that's what makes it fun for me. Basically the same reason I like programming. Does that not intrigue you, or have you not thought of it that way? It's hard to tell since I don't know your level of math, are we talking graduate, undergraduate, high-school?


High school level and I do believe the only way I can stand to spend the time learning it is if I could apply it to something but I have no idea what? I could go to some kind of class for it to force myself to use it but I'd prefer to spend time learning something I'm interested in.

Well I'll explain how I've made math bearable since most of the math instructors I've ever had have made math as fun as getting a root canal LOL.
Basically by getting into game programming :)
Unless you plan on using something like gamemaker you'll eventually have to learn at least a little math to rotate,move,translate,etc the sprites for your game on screen and this is only for 2D games. Once you move into 3D you'll run even more math like cignox1 has.
Even when I was in high school I understood the importance of math and used it over and over although I struggled with it since my math skills were also lacking. Don't let that stop you from improving though since math is like eating spinach -- no one likes to do it but everyone knows it's good for you and will make you stronger LOL!
Anyways, some examples of where I had to use math in HS from what I remember is using trig to calculate the height my model rocket reached to determine whose rocket went the highest. Using trig to estimate the height of the mountains on the moons using their shadows. Using math in chemistry to mix the right amount of chemicals to make firecrackers,etc.
In college I use mathemathematica to make math fun since there's alot of cool stuff you can create with it. I think I learned more graphing multiple systems of linear equations in mathematica in 3D than I ever did from my "abstract" professor!
Oh and watching professor's Strang's MIT video's too. Now there is someone who must find math enjoyable just from watching him in action.


In the end though it's really up to you to find ways to make math fun since in my experience anyways most math professors will kill all the fun out of it if you even thought it was fun to begin with.

p.s. Also have a look into fractals. If you don't find how they are created or aren't fascinated by all the different types,etc like I am then I don't know what you find interesting.

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Actually the understanding of math concepts is not really a problem it's actually using it thats the problem. I have taken many online IQ test and score around 120 but I know I could score so much higher since I almost always guess on the math questions...

I was reading something about how it's impossible to really increase your IQ but this makes me wonder if it's possible to actually improve my ability to process math?

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Oh... "online IQ test"...

Isn't it pathetic that you need an IQ score to prove yourself a normal human?

There must be a lot of people suspecting that you have some crayons in your head like Mr Simson.

Funny CodaKiller...

[Edited by - ma_hty on June 5, 2009 10:57:15 AM]

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Original post by CodaKiller
Actually the understanding of math concepts is not really a problem it's actually using it thats the problem. I have taken many online IQ test and score around 120 but I know I could score so much higher since I almost always guess on the math questions...

I was reading something about how it's impossible to really increase your IQ but this makes me wonder if it's possible to actually improve my ability to process math?


IQ tests are rubbish and they aren't capable of calculating you intelligence. This is because intelligence isn't the ability to solve stupid and artificial problems.
Some of the common math problems in IQ tests are also no-sense (from a mathematically point of view), like the one that ask to find the next number in a sequence given the first terms. Mathematically there are an infinity of sequences that starts form a particular subsequence and every sequence makes sense. In the context of IQ tests they probably think about geometric or arithmetic sequences so you simply have to see if this is the case. So, in this case, they aren't testing you intelligence, but your ability to understand how IQ tests creator thinks. And this can be trained. Do a lot of IQ tests (reading the solutions when you fail in some question) and then you will find that there are several patterns that you can use to solve the problems.

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Quote:
Original post by apatriarca
Quote:
Original post by CodaKiller
Actually the understanding of math concepts is not really a problem it's actually using it thats the problem. I have taken many online IQ test and score around 120 but I know I could score so much higher since I almost always guess on the math questions...

I was reading something about how it's impossible to really increase your IQ but this makes me wonder if it's possible to actually improve my ability to process math?


IQ tests are rubbish and they aren't capable of calculating you intelligence. This is because intelligence isn't the ability to solve stupid and artificial problems.
Some of the common math problems in IQ tests are also no-sense (from a mathematically point of view), like the one that ask to find the next number in a sequence given the first terms. Mathematically there are an infinity of sequences that starts form a particular subsequence and every sequence makes sense. In the context of IQ tests they probably think about geometric or arithmetic sequences so you simply have to see if this is the case. So, in this case, they aren't testing you intelligence, but your ability to understand how IQ tests creator thinks. And this can be trained. Do a lot of IQ tests (reading the solutions when you fail in some question) and then you will find that there are several patterns that you can use to solve the problems.


Not the IQ test which I care about, the IQ test merely made me wish I could do math better. Math is something I have always wanted to be good at though...

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I personally like math, but I had to learn a lot of thinks I don't like in my life. Even if it's probably possible to make math a little more interesting I think you can't rely on that. So if you want to improve your math skills you will probably have to try to study it, even if you don't like it. And you have to try to solve a lot of math problems by yourself and without the help on APIs (making software if you like it). It's the only way to learn to use math effectively.

EDIT: If you want to improve your math skills doing programming you can try to solve the problems in Project Euler

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