Mathsssssssss

I am not a snake but, unlike our delightful friends across the pond, I shorten mathematics to maths, not math. I had a number of American lecturers in my now distant mathematical past, so it doesn’t really bother me, but I like to make the distinction nonetheless.

Getting to the point, Nintendo is going to select four US schools with a MATHCOUNTS Club and at least 12 participating students, and give each one 20 copies of Personal Trainer: Math and 20 Nintendo DS systems.

A couple of thoughts on this. Firstly, if there are as few as 12 pupils in one of the winning clubs, but they get 20 bits of hardware and software, then because 20 > 12, there’s going to be hardware and software not getting used. What a waste. Someone hasn’t thought this through.

Also, this whole thing is to get kids excited about maths. But Personal Trainer: Math contains games of addition and subtraction, and – apparently most excitingly – “multiplication tables and calculation ladders”. But that’s all quite boring.

If they want to show how great maths is, what they should have included is hyperbolic geometry, topology, the Mandelbrot set, cryptography – that sort of stuff. Much more fun. Or is that just me?