Math Flywheel (publ. 2024-01-30)

Two weeks ago, my six-year-old Silas was working on his math homework. On one problem, instead of writing the answer, he drew this diagram:

Math Flywheel

From the explanation he gave, the basic idea is that you feed integer blocks into the battery. (Integer blocks are small blocks of various sizes used to teach counting.) This, in turn, powers the flywheel, which then produces the output to the problem.

The schematic does leave out quite a few critical details, and he may need to refine his concept of integer blocks as a power source vs. input to computational machinery. Nevertheless I felt quite impressed, as Silas seems to have grasped the core tenet of automation and programming: instead of solving the problem, he designed a machine capable of solving it for him.

Unfortunately he was not able to complete the prototype early enough to avoid having to do the rest of the workbook page. But I'm looking forward to upcoming developments.

This work © 2024 by Christopher Howard is licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Deed

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