Primed Minds is a tool to inspire you mathematically!
Showcasing the joy and beauty inherent in mathematics, our Explorations, unlike traditional presentations, are a wild affair that impart the thrill of discovery by alternately entertaining and actively engaging.
Running through an Exploration does just that; it runs through the content, skimming past details and glimpsing everything. It usually alternates short entertaining videos with interactive content that immerse you in the experience of being a real mathematician! You'll experience how a dead-end alley becomes an a-ha moment. You'll smell the mathematical flowers that blossom around intractable unsolved mysteries. And you might even learn a little math along the way.
Hiking a trail through an Exploration is a deeper dive and invariably includes content designed as handouts and lesson plans for offline activities. You'll also find Orientation Clips that explain the content and how best to use it, though beware, if you're enjoying the challenges Orientation Clips very often have spoilers and explanations.
Primed Minds is for kids (of all ages, up to and including 100). Seriously, our content is low floor and high ceiling, meaning it's very accessible (much of it even to primary school kids) but there are plenty of challenges for middle and high school kids, and even formally trained mathematicians will delight at what they see going on in the background. This is not your standard curriculum. Primed Minds is designed to inspire interest, rather than educate on specifics.
While familiarity with some very basic concepts is sometimes assumed, even in those cases interest is often piqued well before formal understanding sinks in.
Anyone curious to explore the magical land of the mind will enjoy our Explorations. Mathematics is, afterall, the one thing we can be sure that aliens too will appreciate.
Before taking your retinue to a new territory, you launch an exploration. You get a taste and decide whether heading out even makes sense.
Unfortunately, unlike language arts where we inspire children with great works of fiction before miring them in the drudgery of spelling and grammar, mathematics is traditionally taught by adhering to a didactic approach of presentational lessons followed by drills.
The thing is, we make the most effort and learn best when we're excited.
With this thinking in mind, the Explorations on Primed Minds are designed to inspire rather than teach. It's a radical idea!
The first time we encounter new ideas, they are fuzzy, and that's okay! Nobody understands all the themes and motifs in Winnie the Pooh the first time they read it (or more likely, are read it), the book simply becomes richer with each pass. So it is with mathematics and it's time it was presented with this in mind.
Finally, the pedagogical reasoning behind the structure of Primed Minds' Explorations is simple. Short, light and quickly paced videos inject energy, context and excitement, while interactive puzzles foster engagement and help solidify concepts. The interactive portions also give very natural breathing room, permitting students to adjust the pace of their progress to their understanding (something that videos alone struggle with). And of course handouts bring the online experience to life in physical form, pushing explorers to see even more!
Mathematics is to think deeply about simple things.
And doing so is fun!!
Mathematics is about exploring ideas that present themselves as puzzles, intriguing patterns, connections and sheer beauty.
Rufus grew up mostly in Australia, but left on a Commonwealth scholarship to Oxford where he got a masters in pure math. He subsequently moved to the US to complete a PhD in number theory at Harvard. From there, he took the unusual turn to write and direct an award winning feature film. Now, with two kids, he has been drawn back to how math is taught. He's not so focused on molding new mathematicians as he is sharing more broadly the joy that this subject can bring!
Dylan Kohler, CTO:
Dylan studied computer science and creative writing at Stanford University, and screenwriting at the American Film Institute. He won an Academy Award for helping bring animation into the digital age at Disney, and was the first technology hire for DreamWorks Animation, where he served as Co-Head of Technology. Back in high school, Dylan ran track and cross country, but he's quite proud of being captain of his school's first math team to go to Nationals.
Rob Pollack, Content Advisor:
Professor at BU, PhD from Harvard. Has kids. Has taught students from the cradle to the grave (well, not literally the grave, but everything through to graduate students), including the most popular math core class on the Harvard campus.