Teaching math the way art is taught

A friend's Facebook post pointed me to this amazing article by Paul Lockhart where he laments that mathematics is not taught the way art is ... students do not learn math by figuring out how to solve problems; instead, they learn to manipulate symbols without intuition:
If your art teacher were to tell you that painting is all about filling in numbered regions, you would know that something was wrong. The culture informs you— there are museums and galleries, as well as the art in your own home ... But if your math teacher gives you the impression, either expressly or by default, that mathematics is about formulas and definitions and memorizing algorithms, who will set you straight?
The reason to learn math is not because it's a tool used by scientists and engineers, he argues:
I’m merely suggesting that just because something happens to have practical consequences, doesn’t mean that’s what it is about. Music can lead armies into battle, but that’s not why people write symphonies.
And anyway, the formulae and facts which is how we learn math are useless devoid of context:
Sometimes we want one plus one to equal zero (as in so-called ‘mod 2’ arithmetic) and on the surface of a sphere the angles of a triangle add up to more than 180 degrees. There are no “facts” per se; everything is relative and relational. It is the story that matters, not just the ending
Read the whole thing.

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