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Monday, November 12, 2012

#GBE2: Numbers

There was a time in grade school when I considered myself to be good at math. To further my beliefs, we'd take achievement tests where I consistently scored higher in Math than Reading or Language Arts. In fact, I did so well, my dad got the idea that I was ready for Algebra in seventh grade, even though some smart teachers thought otherwise. Thus began my numbers demise. I am living proof that there are few things worse than pushing a kid into a class in which he or she is not ready.

Math fits perfectly into Piaget's psychological theories. Have you ever tried to convince a toddler that a fat wide glass has more juice in it than the tall skinny one? If you succeeded, you're probably the first because there is no way most toddlers can grasp that concept, as there was no way twelve year old me was going to 'get' Algebra. It has nothing to do with intelligence, and everything to do with emotional maturity. I just wasn't there yet.

As a result of being pushed beyond my math readiness, I struggled with math throughout high school. Come college, I enrolled in a required Freshman math class. I took one look at my text and horrible memories of struggling through this stuff terrorize me. As a result, I made the mistake of signing up pass/fail for the easiest class of my college career. The difference? Come college, I was ready for this stuff!

As an adult, teaching math is probably my greatest strength because now, not only do I understand numbers, but I think I have good insight as to why some kids don't. Also, I've seen how my number talented son had no trouble securing a job post college. He used to joke with a friend about how he could add but couldn't read and his friend could read but couldn't add. In hindsight, I'm glad Daniel could add.
Although my youngest did not consider herself to be a mathematician, with her friends, they created a great T-shirt idea. Well the adults in charge didn't think so because it never became a shirt. It read something like this: Holy shift! Look at that assymptote on that mother function. IB. We have class.

Here's a great Abbot & Costello math clip.


Kimberlee Turley said...

I loved math but stopped liking it around calculus when it took a whole sheet of paper to solve one equation and there was no real-world application for the solution.

Kathy said...

I never liked math while I was growing up. In 9th grade I had the algebra teacher from hell and decided I hated it. When I got to college I took the placement exam and they placed me in College Algebra. The professor walked in and told us straight up we were going to HATE it but we needed it for our degree. It was her job to teach us come hell of high water and she was determined to do it. She guaranteed that we would walk out of there understanding Algebra. Guess what? I did. By the time she was done with me, I got it. It amazes me that I do so much math today and I still get it enough to help my kids. Thanks to that one brilliant teacher, I finally got it and I will always appreciate her for it.


Binky said...

I used to like calculus. I probably couldn't do the simplest equation now.

northsidefour said...

I still struggle, now doing third grade math with my girls. I went from accelerated 7th grade math to the remedial math by 9th grade, literally plummeted in two years, and I was lost. And it only got harder as I got older, the memory of that huge pre algebra room in college still makes me queasy. That said, I love the way my girls are learning math, it makes so much more sense and seems so logical, and I am hopeful that they will not suffer as I did, late at night in the math study hall, dreading the upcoming basic algebra test.

Jenn said...

I love Math-- I do draw the line at calculus. I took it for 1/2 of my senior year of high school and then had to switch into probability and statistics. Something called Senioritis came up and bit me in the rear end--and I wanted nothing to do with any real academic work that last year of high school.

I loved math in college though,I placed in an Algebra 2 class. The only thing that scared me was the professors last name. I had to memorize how to spell it. Now, I'm pretty darn good at spelling--but it took awhile for me to get it right because all college material had abbreviated her last name and she wasn't giving it up. Her name? Dr. Gidilahithalu. (I think--close enough it was 20 years ago!).

Cheers, Jenn

Amy McMunn Schindler said...

Haha. Holy shift this was good!!!


Rhonda @Laugh Quotes said...

I love math, and it looks like my kids do too. So if your theory is correct, they will get jobs. LOL. Love the video and the root of all evil joke.

Jo said...

Love it! Math ... yeah, I get by, but not my strength!

Azara said...

I just do not get it. The word problems are the worst - complete gibberish to me. I guess this is why my mother burst out laughing when I told her I was going to become a chartered accountant instead of an editor and I was switching my major from English/pre-law to Business. All I can say is...that's why we have calculators! I rarely have to do more than basic arithmetic in my career as an accountant; all that calculus and geometry torture was completely unnecessary. I kind of liked algebra though, because it was like a weird little language.

I'm really nervous about when my kids get to the age they'll need help with their math homework, because I'm not going to be able to do it. Hopefully my husband can step in - he's a drywall sub-contractor and much better at math and spatial reasoning than I am.

Theresa said...

I never liked math. Still don't. I still panic when I have to do math problem. Even when my 3rd grader asks for help with her math homework I send her to my dad.

That is a great shirt concept your daughter and her friends came up with!