What I love is that math lets you take some things you know and just by moving symbols around on a piece of paper find out something you didn’t know that’s very surprising. I have a lot of stupid questions and I love that math gives the power to answer them sometimes.
If you want to understand the Common Core’s fourth math practice standard, “Model with Mathematics,” you could do a lot worse than studying the mental feats Munroe performs in every single post of his What If? blog.
I think the bit immediately prior is worth quoting as well, even if it’s a bit harsher:
And I love calculating these kinds of things, and it’s not that I love doing the math. I do a lot of math, but I don’t really like math for its own sake.
Like on Mythbusters, Monroe is rarely content to stop with answering the question as stated: he generally keeps going bigger, faster, taller, or hotter until something explodes.