My earliest math memory? I’m not quite sure what that is. Perhaps it was comparing which cookie is bigger or counting down the minutes during an enforced nap (or time-out). I’ll start the story of my math journey, with my elementary years….
My math is a result of SPUTNIK .
When I was in first grade, the Soviet Union launched the first official satellite to orbit the Earth (if you know some history and you do the math, you will be able to calculate my age). In response, the United States ramped up their math programs and New Math was the result. I was fortunate to be identified as having an aptitude for mathematics. I became a pull-out kid that studied math, including all kinds of interesting concepts like Venn diagrams and arrays and sequences adjusted for age-appropriateness. I never felt odd or singled out, but rather, I relished the idea of leaving the confines of my classroom to move about the building and study in ways that others could not. While my classmates were bored by repetitious drills, I was discovering math in a way that was normally reserved for upper grades.
HOW this affects my teaching —- I love to introduce my students to topics beyond their course (like a teaser for algebra 2 or calculus or whatever lies ahead).