It's amazing how many math myths are out there these days. Believing these myths can lead students (not to mention adults) to believe that math is "too hard," "not for them," or just plain unattainable. That's nonsense!
Hollywood is in love with the idea that humans only use a small portion of their brains. This notion formed the basis of the movies Lucy (2014) and Limitless (2011). Both films ask the audience: Imagine what you could accomplish if you could use 100% of your brain?
Well, this isn’t Hollywood, and you’re stuck with an ordinary brain. The good news is that you do use 100% of your brain. As you look around the room, your visual cortex is busy assembling images, your motor cortex is busy moving your neck, and all of the associative areas recognize the objects that you see. Meanwhile, the corpus callosum, which is a thick band of neurons that connect the two hemispheres, ensures that all of this information is kept coordinated. Moreover, the brain does this automatically, which frees up space to ponder deep, abstract concepts...like mathematics! #mathmythbusted
Has this ever happened to you? Someone explains something, and it all makes sense at the time. You feel like you get it. But then, a day later when you try to do it on your own, you suddenly feel like something’s missing? If that feeling is familiar, don’t worry. It happens to us all. It’s called the illusion of explanatory depth, and it frequently happens after watching a video.
How do you break this illusion? The first step is to try to make the video interactive. Don’t treat it like a TV show. Instead, pause the video and try to explain it to yourself or to a friend. Alternatively, attempt the steps in the video on your own and rewatch it if you hit a wall. Remember, it’s easy to confuse familiarity with understanding. #mathmythbusted
Stay tuned for more myth-busting, and the next time you hear a Math Myth like this from a student, parent, or even a friend, make sure you bust it!
Dr. Bob joined Carnegie Learning in 2009 as a Cognitive Scientist. He received his PhD in Cognitive Psychology in 2005 from the University of Pittsburgh under the direction of Dr. Michelene T.H. Chi, and he received additional training at the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center (PSLC) as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Kurt VanLehn and Dr. Timothy J. Nokes-Malach. In his spare time, Dr. Bob publishes a blog entitled Dr. Bob's Cog Blog, and is the author of the book Cognitive Science for Educators: Practical suggestions for an evidence-based classroom. The unifying theme that runs throughout all of these activities is a drive toward helping every student become an expert in a domain of her or his choice. When he isn’t thinking about cognitive science, which is rare, Dr. Bob enjoys long-distance running, mountain biking, and traveling with his wife.Explore more related to this author
Amy Jones Lewis brings her classroom expertise and passion for high-quality math instruction together as Carnegie Learning’s Vice President of Instructional Design, Math (K-12). In this role, she oversees the content development of Carnegie Learning’s instructional resources to meet the needs of students and teachers. Prior to this, she was the math specialist for Intermediate Unit 1, receiving more than $2M in grant funds to provide intensive professional development to K-8 teachers in southwestern PA. As a national consultant, Amy has contributed to projects at WestEd, Discovery Education, and other local organizations. She is the former Director of Educational Services at Carnegie Learning, where she worked with teachers and coaches across the country to successfully implement the Carnegie Learning blended math solutions. She began her career teaching high school mathematics in Malawi, Africa, and Baltimore City, MD, and has a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University.Explore more related to this author