Wow. Just wow.

A colleague directed me to this material called “Memorize in Minutes”.  While it’s not completely devoid of math content, it … well, really, the last 80 pages should speak for themselves.

Just to clarify, I do not think this is a very good way to present multiplication!


About Bowen Kerins
Bowen is a mathematics curriculum writer. He is a lead author of CME Project, a high school curriculum focused on mathematical habits of mind, and part of the author team of the Illustrative Mathematics curriculum series. Bowen leads professional development nationally, primarily on how math content can be taught with a focus on higher-level goals. Bowen is also a champion pinball player and once won $1,000 for knowing the number of degrees in a right angle.

8 Responses to Wow. Just wow.

  1. Matt E says:

    I’ll go ahead and state the obvious:

    If a kid could actually remember all these little “stories,” the times table would be a walk in the park.

    Occasionally, though, they stumble upon some deep truths. Like “Chicks times Chicks equals Dirty Chicks.”

  2. Tina C says:

    Your brain works just like a television, with a VCR built in. Obviously. Really I have no idea why psychologists spend so much time studying brains, they should just ask a TV engineer.

  3. Do you realize you’ve just given more fuel to the forces who believe that math is nothing more than rote memorization of isolated facts? An interesting curiosity but it needs to be presented within the larger context of mathematics education, and not held up on a pedestal by someone of your eminence.

    • Bowen Kerins says:

      Sorry for any confusion — I was hoping to illustrate it as an example of what shouldn’t be done. In my opinion a student who learns their multiplication facts this way learns absolutely nothing about mathematics or any relationships between numbers or operations. Heck, they don’t even get to learn that 7×5 is more than 7×4!

      This is almost the exact opposite of the ways in which I hope students learn about mathematics, and I apologize if my first post was a little incomplete about that opinion. I also agree that the better conversation is about what we should be doing, and why, and demonstrate results that justify using those methods instead of learning about surfing trees hitting a denty sun.

      • It’s interesting how we interpret the printed word. Sarcasm and irony aren’t always easy to spot, and for that, I apologize. I am glad you have clarified your reference above. What got my blood up was my mis-interpretation of your title which I now regard as dripping with sarcasm. Having been on the front line, so to speak, of attempting to illuminate parents as well as so-called professional educators about what constitutes good mathematics education, I can attest that there are a lot of people who grasp at such dubious “help” for a lot of reasons, some understandable but few acceptable. Nothing is more dangerous than a teacher who is in over his/her head, who grasps at the one thing he/she understands and then foists it down the throats of students. Let’s hope others see its worthlessness in the big picture.

  4. “Wow. Just wow.” does about sum it up.

  5. Karim says:

    Once upon a time there was a boy. He had shoes but they were too big. So he asked his mother, “Mother, could you buy me some smaller shoes?” But his mother was a mean lady who wouldn’t even listen to him. He pleaded and pleaded, but she never even acknowledged his existence. It turns out she was deaf. Also, she wasn’t his mother but the old senile woman across the street — he lived at 222 Elm Street but didn’t yet know his 2s — but the point is that his shoes were too big, and his mom (or whoever) was too mean to do anything about it. Eventually the boy grew up and became a bus driver and drove off a cliff, which may or may not have had anything to do with his childhood.

    The moral of the story? Two times five equals ten.

  6. Fawn Nguyen says:

    Ironic (and sad) that the document is 89 pages long.

    @Karim: I thought the moral was to know your base 3 numbers 🙂

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