Saturday, March 14, 2015

10 year old... enrolled in college?

Esther Okade, a 10 year old British-Nigerian living in Walsall, has recently enrolled the The Open University. A UK based distance learning college, she recently received a 100% on a recent exam. She's seriously already at the top of her class. She claims math is "super easy" and that "my mom taught me in a nice way." She wants to complete the course in two years and get a PhD in Financial Math by the time she's 13. She dreams of having a bank by the time she's 15, because she loves people and believes banks are a great way to help people. In fact, she wanted to start college when she was 7, but her mom said she was entirely too young, and to take it slow. Yeah, seriously. When I was seven I was just learning multiplication and monkey bars. She took the British Math GSCE Exam, and got an A at the age of 7. When she was younger, she wanted to start school at the age of 3. Her mother began homeschooling her, since school isn't required in Britain until age 5. She was outraged that she was never allowed to talk in school. Her mom began teaching her simple number skills, and by the age of 4 she had moved to algebra and quadratic equations. In addition, he little brother, Isaiah, will be sitting his first A Level Exam in June. He's 6. Esther is also writing a series of books for children called "Yummy Yummy Algebra" to teach others math, because "I want to show other children that they are special too. As long as you can add or subtract, you'll be able to do it." I was going to comment this on Isabel's about Children and Race, because it reminded me of this article from CNN. At age 15, I had achieved a permit; Ester wants to own a bank. I think she's a perfect inspiration for African- American students world-wide. She's one of the most incredible kids I've read about. Go Esther! I'll be buying your book because you're better at Math than I'll ever be.


Sri Korrapati said...

I WANT TO BE ESTHER. Guy's, I think it's time to develop the basis of my imaginary graduate thesis.

I believe all children are born with their math, or at least the ability to easily discover it, but it's just forgotten. I think children know that 2 + 2 = 4 (sorry underground man) when they see it for the first time, maybe even when they're born.

I'm going to find an article to back me up here:

Imagine baby Sri, sitting in math class wondering why he has to do 10000000 addition and subtraction problems before he learn how to do multiplication? I imagine that if I had devoted more time into math as a kid, like Esther, I might be in a graduate level by now. Esther is most definitely smarter than me, but I do feel a bit held back by the school system.
But then there are those kids that just don't get what a fraction is. I hate those kids. JKJK, but really some kids just have more trouble. It's hard for me to grasp why someone doesn't understand math because to me it's such simple logic.

This is the part where I call Tiffany out:
@TIFFANY is an amazing mathematician, she understands every concept thrown out at her. Her problem is, however, she refuses to accept that the understands a concept until she understands it 100%. She doesn't gradually build up. She needs to know everything at once and then practice.

This comment didn't really have any direction, but I love math.

Joe D said...

Sri, while I'm not discounting your proposition that you could be in graduate school right now, graduate level mathematics requires a high level of abstraction that will make you wish you were still in a computation-based math course like Calculus. Abstract Algebra and number theory are different beasts, which require an entire different mode of thought. I can understand how an elementary school student could be taught calculus, but I struggle to believe that said achooler could be taught abstract algebra, unless he or she were a prodigy.
The solid foundation in computation that current mathematical pedagogy provides--especially in elementary school--is to ensure that students have the computational base upon which we can build. After elementary school, however, I do support the notion of traveling at your own pace. For instance, I don't doubt that everyone in our grade can use the order of operations well, and that some people can differentiate easier than others (and some cannot differentiate at all), simply because we have chosen different paths. I chose a very accelerated math track because of personal interest and familial influences, but some people have a genuine distaste for mathematics. Calculus isn't needed for a lot of careers, so why teach it to almost all high schoolers? Pacing should be decided by the learner, not the teacher, after developing the skills that they could possibly need in everyday life (basic Algebra and PEMDAS, primarily).