Monthly Archives: June 2008

Socratic method to teach 3rd graders binary arithmetic

I recently learned that UBS, the large Swiss bank, has something called the Q-Series that is inspired by the Socratic method of using questions to probe the depths of “truth”, or at least knowledge, in their case about investment-related things.  (You must be a client to see the Q-Series reports.)

Of course this made me curious about the Socratic method, which led me to a fascinating description of one man’s use of the method with a typical 3rd grade class to lead them into understanding the binary, or base-two, system of math.  No one thought it would be possible, but by simply asking the right questions, in the right order, he got almost the whole class to a point of actually seeing this different system of counting and arithmetic.  Read Rick Garlikov’s description here.