A blog about blogs
05 April 2013
I've had three blogs published elsewhere in the last month.
Alex Bellos invited me to do a guest blog about Zequals for his Guardian online page. It has had a big response and made it to the Guardian home page for a day, which was great, though reading the comments underneath the blog gives a reminder that any discussion of arithmetic is always highly emotive. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/alexs-adventures-in-numberland/2013/apr/04/zequals-symbol-sums-mathematics?CMP=twt_gu .
In March I did another blog for the Guardian, this time for their teacher network, with advice for teachers on how to get parents more involved with their teenagers' maths.  At the bottom of the article are some ideas for making maths more engaging at school (you might have to register with Guardian online to access these):
Finally I wrote an article for Sarah Ebner's excellent Schoolgate column in The Times, entitled "What's the point of algebra?"  Apologies that the Times website has a paywall, but in summary the four reasons I give for algebra are:
1)  It's a vital tool for problem solving in some professions (engineering, computer programming, finance).
2) Even if you aren't going to use it much after school, you will need a decent GCSE in maths to get a good job, and algebra is an important part of GCSE.  (That's not an exciting justification, but it's a realistic one.)
3) Algebra builds an understanding of how things relate to each other, how patterns are formed and how to predict the future (everything from the path of a meteor to forecasting your pension).
4) Good brain-training.  Many teenagers enjoy algebra because it's like a puzzle.  They often enjoy it without really knowing what it is "for".