I recently came across the concept of Recreational Mathematics.
I found it by accident after I read a story about a woman called Marjorie Rice. She wasn’t an expert on anything nor did she have any special education. She was simply a brilliant and intuitive woman and with an intent to find a new tessellation.
What is a tessellation? It is pentagonal pattern that is able to completely tile as it repeats.
In the end, she did not only find a new one, she found FOUR! And all of this with basic high-school education. It is probably the best example of how pursuit and determination can pay off.
So I went digging a bit deeper.
What is Recreation Mathematics?
The same as Marjorie so did I come across an article written by Martin Gardner where he published his Mathematical Games. Gardner was, in fact, a famous mathematician and science writer who proposed the concept of Recreational Math.
The idea behind it is that a person is able to solve puzzles and simple games by using “non-instructive” learning. So you generally need to find the answer by applying your innate problem-solving skills and trial and error methods.
The best examples are modern games like Sudoku and KenKen.
Gardner wrote more than 100 books on this matter and comprised thousands of games which was what initially drew Marjorie Rice and what inspired her to come up with an entirely new tessellation.
What are the Benefits of Recreational Math?
The way I see it, there are two major benefits of Recreational Mathematics today. One is stimulating your brain, while the second is… Well, it’s simply fun.
Brain teasers and games with this specific character are able to keep your mind sharp. There have been certain studies that testify to the fact that people who have been suffering from various illnesses that result in the deterioration of the mind have shown improvements when applying this method. If one uses recreational math regularly, they will be able to train their brains and slow down the process.
Also, as I mentioned, math can be fun! If you have ever tried playing Sudoku or a similar game then you know what I am talking about. These types of short and simple games are a great way to pass the time and not feel bored. Most of you prefer using flashy mobile phone games where you slay dragons or fight superheroes, but those types of games can only dull your mind. Games that make you exert yourself will come with the added benefit of you feeling gratified of receiving the reward of knowledge once you complete it.
I’m really impressed about this matter. What impressed me the most is the story about Marjorie Rice. It is, in a way, a type of rags to riches story where a person that nobody expects to achieve anything accomplishes so much.
I think those stories are inspiring and can really help other people get the best out of themselves.
Like physical recreation, the recreation of the mind is important. If you stop training your body, it will weaken and the same thing can happen to your brain. Since we can’t lift weights with our head we can do these types of exercises to make our minds sharper.
I urge you to try it and see how it works for you. The least that you can get from it is having a little bit of fun.