# Trivia vs. Times Tables

#### Sandra Dodd

This is a blogpost from yesterday, Ronnie Maier:

http://zombieprincess.blogspot.com/2010/05/wrapping-point-in-silk.html

It's wonderful.

I offer these older bits to go with it, if anyone is new to such ideas:

http://sandradodd.com/timestables

http://sandradodd.com/triviality

http://sandradodd.com/connections

Sandra

http://zombieprincess.blogspot.com/2010/05/wrapping-point-in-silk.html

It's wonderful.

I offer these older bits to go with it, if anyone is new to such ideas:

http://sandradodd.com/timestables

http://sandradodd.com/triviality

http://sandradodd.com/connections

Sandra

#### Su Penn

On May 7, 2010, at 11:10 AM, Sandra Dodd wrote:

I just read a book called A Calculating People, a history of how Americans came to see math as so important. I loved the history of it; turns out it wasn't until the 18th century that anyone thought people who weren't shopkeepers and traders should know arithmetic, and even for those people, there were these books published called "Ready Reckoners" that were full of charts so sellers could figure out that, if they were selling 8 yards of cloth at X price, it would cost Z. They just didn't assume that people should understand _how_ to multiply. For a long time after people started to think educated people (men, at that time) should know math, it was assumed to be too challenging for boys under 12, and it actually trickled down from a start as a one-year course men took in their last year of college.

I find that kind of thing interesting, just because I do, but also because it reminds me how provisional and time-bound the assumptions we make about what makes a person educated are.

My boys, 6 and 9, are interested in multiplication. The way they are expressing this now is by setting me problems to solve. Sometimes they want me to multiply a 2 or 3-digit number by a 1-digit number. I do them in my head. I couldn't have done this until a few years ago, when I was belatedly introduced to techniques like Kirby's multiplying-by-18 trick (multiply by 20 and then subtract the extra 2s).

We have a book called "right brain math" from "Mr. Numbers" that shows a different way to build the times tables; the completed table emphasized the patterns that run through it in a different way than the usual 1-10 by 1-10 grid. My kids have dabbled in it; I find it really neat. Mr. Numbers also does other cool charts for specific numbers. He's kind of fun. Here's his website: http://rightbrainmath.com/index.htm (warning: auto-play sound).

Su, mom to Eric, 8; Carl, 6; Yehva, 2.5

tapeflags.blogspot.com

> This is a blogpost from yesterday, Ronnie Maier:i really liked that post.

> http://zombieprincess.blogspot.com/2010/05/wrapping-point-in-silk.html

I just read a book called A Calculating People, a history of how Americans came to see math as so important. I loved the history of it; turns out it wasn't until the 18th century that anyone thought people who weren't shopkeepers and traders should know arithmetic, and even for those people, there were these books published called "Ready Reckoners" that were full of charts so sellers could figure out that, if they were selling 8 yards of cloth at X price, it would cost Z. They just didn't assume that people should understand _how_ to multiply. For a long time after people started to think educated people (men, at that time) should know math, it was assumed to be too challenging for boys under 12, and it actually trickled down from a start as a one-year course men took in their last year of college.

I find that kind of thing interesting, just because I do, but also because it reminds me how provisional and time-bound the assumptions we make about what makes a person educated are.

My boys, 6 and 9, are interested in multiplication. The way they are expressing this now is by setting me problems to solve. Sometimes they want me to multiply a 2 or 3-digit number by a 1-digit number. I do them in my head. I couldn't have done this until a few years ago, when I was belatedly introduced to techniques like Kirby's multiplying-by-18 trick (multiply by 20 and then subtract the extra 2s).

We have a book called "right brain math" from "Mr. Numbers" that shows a different way to build the times tables; the completed table emphasized the patterns that run through it in a different way than the usual 1-10 by 1-10 grid. My kids have dabbled in it; I find it really neat. Mr. Numbers also does other cool charts for specific numbers. He's kind of fun. Here's his website: http://rightbrainmath.com/index.htm (warning: auto-play sound).

Su, mom to Eric, 8; Carl, 6; Yehva, 2.5

tapeflags.blogspot.com

#### Bob Collier

--- In [email protected], Su Penn <su@...> wrote:

Bob

>I remember using a Ready Reckoner in my first job when I worked in a Salaries & Wages department. That was the late 1960s. It's interesting to remember that had I worked out the arithmetic with a pencil and paper as I was taught to do at school I would have been regarded as totally daft. Who would bother to do that? Look it up in your Ready Reckoner. Every member of staff was issued with one.

> I just read a book called A Calculating People, a history of how Americans came to see math as so important. I loved the history of it; turns out it wasn't until the 18th century that anyone thought people who weren't shopkeepers and traders should know arithmetic, and even for those people, there were these books published called "Ready Reckoners" that were full of charts so sellers could figure out that, if they were selling 8 yards of cloth at X price, it would cost Z. They just didn't assume that people should understand _how_ to multiply. For a long time after people started to think educated people (men, at that time) should know math, it was assumed to be too challenging for boys under 12, and it actually trickled down from a start as a one-year course men took in their last year of college.

>

>

Bob