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World Maths Day World Maths Day
by The Ovi Team
2015-03-06 10:51:50
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math01_400March 6th; World Maths Day 2013 wants to give pupils a change from their usual maths lessons and ask them to compete in live maths games! The bigger the number the better!

Each student will move up through 5 levels and can play a maximum of 500 games. But, if you're a bit of a potential Einstein you can play more games if you want! The extra points won't be added to your personal score but will get added to the Mathometer.

Schools everywhere are encouraged to get involved. The games will improve arithmetic and help kids see maths as more of a fun activity. This way, children who have a bit of trouble might see it as more of a doable challenge! All you have to do is register your class and wait for your simple instructions!

It's not just schools that can take part either. Students at school and home are encouraged to take part as long as they have internet access. The event is aimed at 5-18 years, but we bet there will be teachers and parents sneakily having a shot too!

If you or your class do really well, there are plenty of prizes up for grabs! Gold medals, trophies and certificates are all open to you. Find out all the information you need to take part at the official World Maths Day website.

Do you have an iPhone? You can easily play the games from that too!

The day was first launched on 13 March 2007. In 48 hours over 287,000 students from 98 countries participated to crush the world record and answer 38,904,275 questions correctly.

In March 2012, World Maths Day became an even bigger event, by becoming part of The World Education Games. This is a global education event, where all students and schools from around the world are invited to unite to set a new world record for the numbers of questions correctly answered in maths, spelling, and science.


     
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Emanuel Paparella2013-03-06 12:38:43
Is there a number big enough to which one cannot add one? What does science have to say about that question? How does science answer a question such as Why is there something rather than nothing? Are there cultures which do not use numbers? Ah the mystery of numbers! I'll be thinking about that all those questions all day today...


Murray Hunter2013-03-06 15:41:46
Today I spoke about maths to my business students and told them not to worry about it so much as it cant answer all questions.
When I was at school they taught me that 1+1 = 2. At university they taught me 1+1 = 3. Then I found that maths couldnt answer the following question:
Under the multiverse theory there are an infinite number of universes. If 10% of these universes had some form of life, how many universes would that be?
As i expected none of my students could answer the question. The metaphor of mathematics like any other has its grave limitations.


Emanuel Paparella2013-03-06 17:32:44
When I teach introduction to philosophy at Barry University or Broward College I always make sure that students know how it differs from other subjects. Understanding that difference is the first step to understanding its purpose and character as Thomas Khun well taught us in his philosophy of science (See his The Nature of Scientific Revolutions,1971. The difference is basically that right at the beginning of any philosophy course one deals with controversial questions. By contrast, in introductory physics or economics, for example, the questions you start with have answers all chemists agree on. You are expected to master these answers and be able to give them when asked. Of course there are lots of physics’ questions which are controversial, but that is where the experts disagree on what the answers are. One finds those at a fairly advanced level of one’s study.

In philosophy the contested matter is right at the beginning. This confounds some students. They expect that it is like a math or a science course where 2+2 is always four right from the beginning: there is nothing to discuss. Instead of presenting the student with a lot of basic truths that he/she is expected to accept, philosophy presents the student with a variety of different answers to the same question; each answer will of course be accompanied by reasoning (the meat and potato of philosophy) to try to make one accept it and reject the alternatives.

It is like having a play of sort with interlocutors and the name of each character corresponding to the position the character holds. For example, if a logical positivist is the interlocutor he will attempt to convince the student that philosophy is just another discipline, or better, another science (by which one gets respect in academia, footnotes and bibliography included), and can be studied as such; that if it is not a science then it is quackery or charlatanism pure and simple. Thus the confusion continues by pitting the assumed passé philosophy against the modern relevant sciences and creating the two worlds of which we have discussed recently in Ovi. What often is lost sight in those logical positivistic arguments is that while science gives us the how the universe works, philosophy give us its purpose and meaning, or at least it attempts to.

To be more concrete, perhaps the first character in the setting up of this philosophical drama, or circus if you will, would be the character “Skeptic” which is a symbol of what philosophy does right from the beginning: it questions assumptions and it engages in dialogues, the proverbial Socratic method of question and answer, and asks not “how” as sciences tend to do but “why.” For instance: why is there something rather than nothing? Ernesto Paolozzi in elucidating Croce has attempted to put the same thing across to those who have hears to ear.

Perhaps we should set up such a theater of sort (one that hopefully doesn’t become a theater of the absurd) with the Ovi readership the audience or even part of the interlocutors and others interested in philosophy providing questions and characters. The list of characters is practically limitless. It could include the likes of assorted: skeptics, rationalists, mystics, deontologists, utilitarians, agnostics, atheists, cosmologists, biologists, mathematicians, pragmatists, entrepreneurs, capitalists (greedy or not), symbolists, psychologists, subjectivist, relativist, communists, you name it. Of course those characters would have to be identifies so that they don’t speak on both sides of their mouth, so to speak. Then they can discuss a particular issue among them, be it that of war and peace, duality of body and mind, philosophy of religion, assuming that religion has not been relegated to mere superstition, social philosophy a la Marx, ethics, determinism and free will, crime and punishment, epistemology, identity and meaning, yon name it here too. What is being suggested here is the envisioning of a bridge to span the chasm that presently exists between the two worlds of the humanities and liberal arts and the sciences. I’d be interested in the opinion of the Ovi readership in such a proposal which admittedly may be redolent of a Fellini circus, but who ever said that Fellini’s movie lacked humor and fun while teaching us some needed and crucial existential truths?


Leah Sellers2013-03-07 06:05:06
Interesting Idea, Brother Emanuel !
And, sir, I think that Humor is a Philosophy - ha !


Emanuel Paparella2013-03-07 12:02:24
Thanks for the feedback Leah. I agree about humor being part of rationality. We human beings seem to be the only ones who laugh and find humor, even in absurdity. What you observation suggests is that perhaps we should include clowns among the various characters. Fellini had them in all his movies.


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