I'm currently at work, sitting in on the Course 1 middle school math class. It's likely that I should be helping the students, as I AM the instructional assistant for this class, but do they really need my help when they're just taking notes? I go around and wake up the sleeping students, regulate when students are misbehaving, and make sure their papers are filling up with fractions and the rules of dividing them.
I know, it's pretty exciting.
One thing that being an instructional assistant in this class has taught me is that we REALLY don't use a lot of the algebra we learn in school. Have any of you ever divided fractions outside of middle or high school math class? Or needed to find out what n equals? Now, if you have a job as a mathematician, then yes, you have. But what about us lay people? I can't say as I have ever multiplied or divided fractions in my average life. And n could equal monkeys, but it doesn't really affect my day. I've certainly used what I learned about percentages (though tip calculators have saved me from some math headaches), adding, subtracting, multiplying, etc, but beyond that, I tend to try to purge my brain of whatever algebraic knowledge I have gained.
Geometry, on the other hand, has been rather useful in my life as an artist/art teacher. All that we see in the world around us it made up of geometric or organic shapes, and understanding geometry is helpful in trying to transfer the image of an object to a piece of paper. I have learned to like geometry as it aides in my career, while algebra has become sort of a dirty word to me. (Though as an organized person I do tend to enjoy the fact that there are fairly hard and fast rules in algebra which, if followed, will give you the correct answer every time. Ahhh, organization.)
So, are you a lover of geometry? Is solving for n your life's passion? Do you find geometric shapes in objects around you, or do you multiply and divide fractions in your head while your roommates are telling you about their day?
I'll leave you with a problem of the day: If x=24 and y=3, does a tree falling in the forest make a sound if no one is around to hear it?
Friday, March 13, 2009
Dangit. I really need to stop making my post titles so descriptive, 'cause there's not much more to say than that. She really wigged me out, though. Her eyes were all bugged out and she was gnawing on her lower lip with this crazed look on her face, all the while driving a red van.* She gave me the jibbly-jibblies. I really couldn't shake it off for a while! Great, now I'm going to have nightmares. Thanks for bringing it up again, guys.
*Um, if that was you that I saw, SO sorry. I didn't recognize you with that great new hair cut!