Ever since I saw Arthur Benjamin’s astonishing display of mathematical ability, I’ve been interested in alternative math strategies that you won’t learn in a modern American classroom (a great disservice to today’s students, I think).
Here’s Michael S. Schneider demonstrating the mathematics used by the ancient Egyptians and Chinese (and still employed in today’s computers; who knew?), which operates on the base-2 number system rather than the more familiar base-10:
If you’re curious about how it handles fractions and decimals, a video (somewhat dryly but clearly) explains further here.
Schneider seems to have some New Age-y notions I don’t buy into, about “sacred geometry” and the hidden significance of numbers in the universe; but his math strategies — like Arthur Benjamin’s — are solid, and deserve to be more widely taught to kids at school, I think. The more tools we have in our mental arsenal for figuring out the world, the better.
(via Unreasonable Faith)