4 ways math could get kids excited
During his childhood in Taiwan, Ingefu Chen grew up fascinated by the ways math could motivate and captivate his family, including his father. This eventually led him to study math and to take it more seriously. As a child, he played math games with his classmates in school, and he still plays with those games as an adult.
Knowing that most of his young relatives and friends either don’t excel in math, or don’t enjoy math, he started a group of math enthusiasts when he moved to the United States. At its first meeting he was really apprehensive, knowing that it would get children’s attention by showing them activities they can do as a group. However, in the end, he learned that the fun aspect really drives people to join in, so he decided to turn that into a monthly group for kids called Math Circles.
“A little more than a year ago, I realized I couldn’t help all the children in the world by just giving them math lectures,” Chen told U.S. News & World Report. So in that moment, he realized that he wanted to give them more opportunities for play in math and learn math through play.
Chen has had an inspiration in the person of mathematician Albert Einstein. In general, people tend to think of math as a boring field of study and that many mathematicians are known to be the best mathematicians in the world. However, Einstein’s story shows that not all mathematicians are students or experts and that he was an engineer who studied and taught math for 15 years after realizing his love for it.
“Einstein was a very good mathematician — one of the best — and yet he was an engineer,” Chen said.
“So I wanted to use my math circles to bring the best educators and world-class mathematicians together.”
As he moves forward, Chen would like to make his group as easy and fun as possible for children so that they can keep coming back for more. And he hopes that they will make it more comfortable for teachers and educators in general.
“We really want children to learn how to play with math,” he said.
To those who want to take a course or master a skill, or who need help with their math skills, Chen recommends that they try taking classes, and he also found a free course of his that lets them try math.
However, if they don’t have money or don’t want to go to school, he said that they might find math fun through his group. It doesn’t matter what your skill or interest is, as long as you have fun.