Maths for pleasure, maths for a new generation

A call for school heads, math educators, parents, students, math lovers, math haters, or anyone on planet!

Rakhi Chawla
Sep 16, 2017 · 7 min read

When I look back to my childhood, and my love for Maths, I was considered not only good at problem solving but faster too. Adding, Subtracting, Multiplying, Dividing, Factorizing, Percentages, Divisibility Rules, Algebra…they all came naturally to me. Indian students are generally considered to be good at Maths, because we do a lot of it: we do lots of problems, fill up our notebooks. More even than a focus on accuracy is a focus on SPEED.

Back then, we did not have classes to go to that teach Kumon, Abacus, or Vedic Maths tricks, nor did we YouTube videos. What made me and others love maths were the ingredients of finding patterns and symmetry, and connecting previous knowledge to new topics. We enjoyed visualizing and drawing calculations more than simply doing them. That was the fun part — it gave us pleasure and felt divine!

There were other children who hated maths. They hated maths to the core, so much so that they opted other subjects. How could it be so?

When I think back to my early maths experiences, the pleasure I was feeling was not because of the methods taught in schools, or the algorithms we learned for multiplication, division or operations on fractions. It wasn’t even because of the A+ grades. No, it was because I could relate myself to the process of reaching those algorithms. I could feel fun in that because I could process the same problem using different approaches. I could challenge myself to achieve more computation in fewer . I loved optimizing my procedures! There was often a counterforce — the maths teacher’s instruction of “you have to solve the problem my way,” which kills the joy of achieving, kills pleasure, and kills out-of-the-box thinking that has sprouted in my little brain.

When I meet the teachers and students today, some twenty years of my education, I find it is all the same. If anything, speed is emphasised even more in schools and at home as well. Parents are heading to Kumon, Abacus and Vedic Maths based classes, and seeking worksheets and apps to create faster calculators.

Maths is not simply calculation. We must not kill the brain’s creative ability to find beauty in mathematics.

In the course of searching for alternative maths strategies that promote real-life connections pattern making, I came across a beautiful methodology. Exploding Dots, developed by Australian Mathematician Dr. James Tanton. James currently serves as mathematician-at-large for the Mathematical Association of America.

Exploding Dots is an astounding mathematical story that starts at the very beginning of mathematics . It assumes nothing and swiftly takes you on a wondrous journey through grade school arithmetic, polynomial algebra, and infinite sums to unsolved problems baffling mathematicians to this day.

I am personally experiencing Exploding Dots in my classrooms at Ed3D, our venture for experiential STEM learning, where learners are building strong foundations on the fundamentals of mathematics, from 5 years old to primary graders, high school scholars, university students, teachers and and even mothers who took classroom sessions and online workshops to remove their childhood anxieties to teach their kids a love of math ! Exploding Dots has recipes for every age group, which is what makes it so popular and lovable.

Below is feedback from some very enthusiastic mothers all over India and abroad.

For place value and the four operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division we just tried out Rakhi’s Exploding Dots and that was a wonderful method I would really recommend Exploding dots for arithmetic for young learners. The whole thing is so visual and tactile and the child easily gets immersed into it. You don’t need any fancy kits for it. It’s plain simple and we can use everyday objects. After a few times the child is able to do the calculations with numbers also easily. And I also found that I was eager to do bigger and tougher calculations and I didn’t feel the fear of large numbers. In fact I would even say that that method be taught to all the maths school teachers because that’s the start of mathematics at school level and what usually happens is that children don’t understand why they are multiplying in a particular way why are they putting one number on top and the other below and then put crosses or zeroes. The confusion reaches an even higher level when they start doing long division in school. Some children don’t even know where the divisor goes and where the dividend goes and which number to bring down which not to and as a result maths becomes a subject that don’t really like. And we all know what happens when first impressions are bad… With the exploding dots method the operations are so very neat and clear that we feel like trying out more. Arithmetic becomes enjoyable. Mom to 11 year old, residing in New Delhi.

Exploring new avenues to learn maths and new stuffs in maths is what we liked always while my son started Kumon at a very early age and is quite with numbers , we tried Singapore maths as well and vedic maths wherein everywhere we do certain things because we were told to do something from our childhood days.Unfortunately our education system too never allowed us to question or visualize maths we only did maths ……. While with all this turmoil we came across Exploding Dots workshop from Rakhi and l must say out perception of maths has completely changed since then we have actually started visualizing maths just by following and appreciating place value you can literally solve all problems it’s just amazing be it place value , addition, subtraction, multiplication , division , positive negative number, fractions and decimals and algebra. I have started understanding why we do certain things like carryover or borrow or importantly how one becomes 11 or 12 when l borrow in subtraction ……. I must say this is the future of maths ….. This wokshop will definitely give you the right foundation for understanding maths concepts so don’t think twice. Mom to 8 year old, residing in Bangalore.

When it comes to maths the market is flooded with concepts like vedic maths, abacus and many more that promise a good learning and foundation in maths. I came across one such concept exploding dots through Rakhi. Exploding dots is a fun way to learn maths in the simplest of ways. Though we have just done just one program with her but she has enabled me, coached me and given me the confidence to explain basic level maths to my kid and other kids who struggle with maths. She is extremely patient, hardworking and easy to talk to. As a mother I would like to highly recommend her program and especially her as a teacher. In the end I would like to say our journey with numbers has just begun…the exploding and unexploding way… Mom to 4 year old, residing in Hong Kong.

Moms have their own way of interpreting things around them, and they can add up spice to any conversation, yes even to Maths Workshops. One awesome lady, came up with an idea of exploding tomatoes to make tomato puree !

Now after these eventful workshops in-house, online and in different clubs and schools over a period of 15 months, our Ed3D students have volunteered to create Kids teaching Kids video-series to celebrate Exploding Dots globally. We would love to connect to Indian students, who want to explore new methods of Mathematics and connect with 1 million students & teachers globally coming from 80+countries all over the world.

Let’s all celebrate the Power of Mathematics, All for FREE, as 2500+ Maths ambassadors are working hard to bring joy of mathematics, pleasure of mathematics to NEXT GENERATION !

Spreading Love of Maths | Ambassador India, Global Math Project.


Reimagining the learning and teaching of mathematics

Rakhi Chawla

Written by

Founder&CEO,Ed3D|STEMEdupreneur|GlobalMathAmbassador@GlobalMathProject|WomaninMath|WomaninTech|EdBlogger | Inspiring creativity,innovation&joy in STEM TINKERING



Reimagining the learning and teaching of mathematics

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