In math as in juggling, it's OK to make mistakes

“I want my students to discover that in learning math, as in juggling, it is important to accept our mistakes, to pick up the pieces and to start over again until we get it right,” says David Haines, professor of mathematics at Bates College. Haines also encourages his students to juggle during class hours. A beginning juggler in training with the Bates College Juggling Club, Haines keeps juggling supplies handy in the classroom so that he and his students can practice during “Introduction to Abstraction” – also known as “Math Camp” – a course that provides exposure to what it means to be a mathematician. Offered during Bates’ Short Term, a five-week period of intensive study in one area, the class meets five hours daily, Monday through Friday, and is required of all departmental majors. Haines can be reached at or 207-786-6144.

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