Five Thoughts about Math with Sri Ramakrishnan

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Five Thoughts about Math with Sri Ramakrishnan

December 13, 2013

In recognition of Computer Science Education Week, we’re featuring an interview with Sri Ramakrishnan from Tynker, a program that teaches kids to code.

1. What do you love about math?

I love the structure and the orderliness; the beauty of a mathematical solution, and the precision and clarity of it. I also like the language – so much is expressed in so little – including very nebulous concepts like infinity.

2. Share an important “Aha!” math moment from your life.

One important “Aha!” math moment was when I ‘got’ algebra. When it was taught for the first time in school, a light went on in my head when I realized that algebra is basically a problem in words expressed in unknowns and knowns. I still remember the thrill of having ‘got it’, and in algebra at least, I never looked back!

3. How do we get kids of all cultures to embrace math?

My top three tips:

One, always present and teach math in the context of its use – meaningless learning is never fun.

Second, ensure early and frequent successes, so every child believes they can do it.

Third, provide good role models – math is not tough, nor for the boring geek – it is cool, and helps solve problems in the world!

4. What math skills are used in computer programming and how can parents build these skills in a fun, natural way?

We at Tynker enable computer programming learning at the most fundamental level, and that too in children. Without peripherals like language and syntax, we aim to reinforce fundamental programming logic and computational thinking.

Computational thinking is a process of problem solving that involves logic, organizing and analyzing data, and breaking a problem into smaller and more manageable parts.

Much of this, if you really think about it, sounds a lot like math!

The math skills that tend to be used more in computer programming are basic arithmetic (remember, the computer will ‘do the math’, but you need to know the logic of where to insert which arithmetic) and the ability to restate word problems in mathematical terms. This latter is an important skill, what I would call a basic math mindset. All kids have this basic mindset – that’s why most kids enjoy solving puzzles and riddles.

Parents may solve math and logic puzzles with their kids to instill passion and interest, and should ensure math learning is meaningful and enjoyable. Children will naturally flourish, both in math and in programming.

5. Thanks to math we can…

Understand the world around us, solve its many mysteries, and be creators and inventors with not even the sky as our limit!

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About the Author

Bedtime Math

Bedtime Math

Bedtime Math’s mission is to make nightly math as common and beloved as the bedtime story.

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