The entry point to high level mathematics isn’t a piece of paper. It’s not manipulating abstract numbers.
The entry point is talking about relationships that exist intuitively that demonstrate complex concepts. Family trees grow exponentially. The amount of pizza you should eat reaches a local maximum at an ideal amount.
What if we started by talking about pizza and mapping that parabolic relationship? Then we identified the local maximum and talked about the curvature of the graph.
Eventually we can solve equations, but it just doesn’t make sense to start with symbols on paper.