Evidence of Natural Learning: Math

Level in a Roblox parkour game.

“I had 39R (Robux). I spent 25R. I went to speed up my job, but it said I need 1R more, so 39-25=14.” 

Whaaaa??? (said, I, as I checked quickly on my calculator because I am afraid of simple math, since I was taught in “school”). How did you figure that out? 

“Because it takes 15R to increase the speed at my job in Roblox.” 

Now, in retrospect, when I am not under pressure and reading it in print, it is easy to see that 9-5=4, and then figure the 10s. 

But, when I was in school, we weren’t taught such “tricks,” as we had to do it “the long way” and “show our work.” 

We were never tested (required) to learn the calculations in our heads – it was always in print. Those lessons have NOT served me well in life. Figuring math in my head is like searching for my garlic press in a drawer full of kitchen tools. 

The above Roblox example is not just a word problem, it is evidence of natural learning

He hasn’t had to memorize times tables, yet he can calculate in his head up to 7 digit numbers. 

The way he arrives at the answer isn’t traditional, but the answer is correct

He isn’t thinking in terms of tricks like 9-4=5, then figuring the 10s. He is applying natural math to real world problems and most of the time, getting it right.

To top it all off, he tells me he feels confident in math, and he understands the precise moment when it all clicked for him – he says it was when he had to add 4 and 4 to get 8 when crafting recipes back when he first started playing Minecraft. 

No curriculum required. No tests. No desk. Passion for math @ eight years old.

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