1.1.5 Mistakes

What If You Make a Mistake?

Making mistakes is part of the learning process. Mistakes tend to be of two different kinds: Small or careless errors, and more serious misunderstandings. If you have made a small error, it is worth trying to work more carefully in the future and taking time to check the intermediate steps and your answer. One thing that will help with this is making sure that you write down all of your math working, however obvious to you it may appear in your math notebook. If, however, you have misunderstood some aspect, then you might need to look back over the topic—or, if you are seriously stuck, ask somebody else for help.

Sometimes you may think you do not understand something, but in reality, you may just have made a minor error early on that causes a problem later. So, if you do find you are stuck with a problem, check back over your work first to see if you have made a mistake. Whatever has happened, the mistake will have been useful in deepening your understanding. Making mistakes is a bit like falling down when learning to walk. Everyone makes mistakes, and it is how we handle them and what they teach us that counts.

Just learn from the experience and move forward! Have you ever tried to learn a new language? It takes a lot of practice and error correction to become proficient. The same is true for math skills—we just seem to think that learning math should require less of a time commitment. Well, think of it as an investment in your future.

If you have time and you’d like to read more about the value of mistakes, here’s an interesting article on the topic [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Video symbolA brief video on making mistakes in math

Although you are not working through a book, the advice for online material and books is very much the same.

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1.1.4 Further Reflection on Sudoku

1.1.6 More Reflection on Sudoku