Making maths beautiful

These are the words that (almost) made me fall in love with maths:

Math is a beautiful art, full of awe and mystery. It gives you a sense of control when you figure out its secrets. (Shimon Schocken)

Schocken's demo of at the Skills 2014 summit was absolutely enchanting. Slate Math is an adaptive learning system that teaches children through beautifully-crafted interactive games. In Schocken's words, it's about bringing back those "Wow!" and "Aha!" moments in maths - "Wow!" (I understand this! That's how it works!) and "Aha!" (this is how it's applied!). Part of the system's beauty lies in its simplicity. This charming episode, for instance, teaches Kindergarten kids the concept of "mapping" - a concept fundamental to mathematics - through the process of pairing bees and flowers.

As I listened to Shocken present at the summit, I discovered that there was a romance to maths, a magic to the process of abstraction that I hadn't contemplated before. And yes, maybe maths is uniquely placed to give a learner that beautiful feeling of something finally "clicking". If only my primary school maths lessons had been like this. Concept-focused, wonder-filled and "wowish".