You know, I don't want people to think that I'm against teaching the standard algorithms for doing calculations. It is important for kids to know how to do those things. The standard algorithms are an important tool because they always work, even on problems that don't have quick, elegant solutions. The standard algorithms should be part of every kid's arsenal of knowledge. But these algorithms are calculation tools; they are not the essence of mathematics.

We like poetry because it shows us unexpected and beautiful connections between words, images and emotions. Mathematics can show us unexpected and beautiful connections between numbers, objects and abstractions. I know it sounds corny, but I have always loved that Disney film "Donald in Mathmagic Land." It's from the 50's or 60's I think, and some parts seem a little dated, but it does a good job of communicating the poetry in math and the presence of math in our daily lives.