Math is one of many areas where it pays to think creatively. That may feel counterintuitive since so often we drive toward that one answer to a problem, but there may be a myriad of paths to that answer. We get to see learners experiment with those paths at Mathnasium as our mathletes explain their thought processes in doing their work. I am regularly amazed by mathletes showing me correct approaches that had never occurred to me; it’s one of the most fascinating areas of this work! As a result, we also get to see them explore and manipulate the numbers, patterns and algorithms over and over, all the while making new connections and growing in their level of sophistication.
Hearing this, you may wonder how to help the young people in your life foster their creativity. One great way is to encourage them to read. Research shows that reading, especially fiction and about a variety of topics, can strengthen an individual's creativity skills. Further, as we learn more about the impact of the pandemic on students’ learning, we know both math and reading scores on standardized tests have fallen compared to pre-pandemic years.
The challenge we all face then, may be best addressed through multiple channels. If you want to make one of those channels reading fiction, here is a wonderful list of STEM related stories for all grade levels. It provides a winning combination of fun and learning that can help your learner be his or her most creative. Happy reading!