Scott Flansburg calls himself The Human Calculator because his mind is wired just a little bit differently, giving him the ability to do math quicker than you, even if you use a calculator. He has taught tens of thousands of kids around the world why they shouldn’t be afraid of math — and in the nearly 20 years I’ve known him — I’ve seen him motivate children who thought they could never do even simple arithmetic and turn them into the star students in their classrooms.

Scott joined me today on KTRS/St. Louis, where we discussed something we have in common — doing addition from left to right, instead of right to left, as almost every US school teaches. This leads to frustration for kids who can do the math in their heads, but have teachers who won’t give them credit because they didn’t “show their work.” Making those calculations mentally, not on paper, goes against the curriculum that has been used in classrooms for decades, which leads to math anxiety that those kids don’t need.

Scott talked about how and why he does what he does, why he believes the number 9 is the key to learning math, and what he’s trying to do now with his in-school seminars and Mathletics program. He also showed off the amazing quick-addition skill that landed him in the Guinness Book of Records.

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