Can the US please just get with the program and switch to the metric system already? I know people have a mental breakdown at the thought of converting to kilometers and kilograms and Celsius, but for a nation that is notoriously awful at math, you think we’d embrace the simplicity. Or maybe switching to a system based on 10 won’t make a difference after all. Continue reading →
I spent many a night at the kitchen table in grades 7 through 9 with tears streaming down my face, hating the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Persians and anyone else who had helped develop and expand that detestable field of mathematics known as algebra. I just didn’t get it. Those uninviting 600 page text books with 50-problem homework sets, just a jumble of meaningless letters on the page, the answer key in the back pages taunting me because I had to show all my work to get any credit. The brainiacs working through the problems on the chalkboard in front of the class in mere seconds and then returning to their seats leaving me standing there alone, backside exposed to my classmates, chalk poised and hoping that one of my friends in the front row would whisper to me what to write so I could return to my seat before the teacher talked me through the problem while everyone else tapped their feet and doodled impatiently. Algebra was the worst.
Fortunately for me, I was in accelerated math in grade 8, which clearly I shouldn’t have been, but since I was a straight A student in all other subjects, it was just assumed that I belonged there. Being in accelerated math meant that after grade 9, I could quit math altogether because New York State standards only required two years of high school math. And only three of science, yet four of physical education, oddly enough. So after grade 9, you bet I quit! I also successfully avoid the two-semester requirement of university math by taking a Critical Thinking class (a mix of logic and probability, run by the Philosophy department) and a Basic Stats & Computing class to fulfill that requirement. Somehow those counted as acceptable substitutes and I got an A- in each. Continue reading →