Mathematics is like an elephant? Well yes - if you think about the story of the blind men and the elephant - depending on what part of the animal you feel, you get a very different idea of what an elephant is. There are so many different aspects and representations in mathematics, that it's all too easy for both teachers and students to be so focused on the particulars of the trunk, the tusks, the ears or the tail - and fail to see the whole elephant.
To work mathematically, you need to smell the whole elephant, hear its roar - and take pleasure in its beauty, strength and also its surprising grace and subtlety. And if we don't want to scare the children? Well, who can resist a baby elephant?
|Source: Matt Stanford (flickr)|
In coming posts, I'll be considering other elephant aspects of mathematics, and what the elephant looks like when it's distributed in the Cloud....