Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Calculus and Calculators



I may be wrong but I don’t believe I was ever allowed to use a calculator for math in high school or, for that matter, college pursuing math and economics majors. Did Texas Instrument even make the fancy, “do everything for you” ones then? The emphasis was on showing your work with the hope of providing the correct answer at the end. I was always good at that partial credit thing.

I took the AP Calculus test and it was four loooong hours that yielded a purely average score AND no college credit but then again, I didn’t have a calculator. Interestingly enough, my daughter took it with the TI 83 in hand and scored enough to receive her first college hours. Was she smarter than her Mama? Did she understand more logarithms? Or did entering numbers into an external “brain” do half the work for her? Naaah. She’s really smart and numbers are her thing, too.

What really struck my funny bone was when my son studied for Pre-Calc tests last year. I often quizzed him before with study guides. Labeled at the top, “You are allowed to use your calculator for this test” or “You are NOT allowed”. At least he’s learned some of it the old-fashioned, long hand way! Now, if he could just hang with Finite Math, he’d be golden!

To this day, I still do my math by hand. I will count the words in each of these paragraphs and add by hand. I divide and calculate percentages by hand, and the probability of….


It could also have something to do with the fact that I can’t find a “brain” in the junk drawer to help this sister out.

And really, the only math I wanna know these days is simple....



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Brain:

27 comments:

  1. This was cute; I like your math.

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    1. Shhhh! I'm watching the movie.

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    2. Forgot to say thank you.

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    3. Which movie? Tell me what you think. About the movie.

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  2. You have a very unique, yet interesting way of utilizing the prompt. I loved this one!
    nice blog as well!

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    1. Thanks, sightsnbytes! Sometimes these prompts are difficult and other times they just bubble up. I appreciate the support over here!

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  3. I love your love algorithm. And I'm suitably impressed with your math mind. My kids both have Scott's math mind. Thank God. I have a real chip on my shoulder about the stereotype that women can't do math. So I always pushed myself to excell in the subject. I have an A in college Calculus (and not elements of calculus either, an applied course) to show for it.

    But once I achieved that, I realized I don't have to prove anything to anyone again, ever. It can be OK that actually, I suck at math. I'm not that great at advanced math, but I'm better at algebra and above than I am at adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.

    And oh dear GOD fractions.

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    1. Jester Queen,
      My favorite was the "love" one too especially at this point in my life. Getting an A in an applied course is big time stuff. You should be ready for high school math, for sure.

      I've loved and been pretty good at math since I was young...my daughter, too. So we can just shoot that stereotype right in the butt! Majoring in Math was perfect for me and just loved the principles of economics as well!

      Thanks for your support!

      Get ready for math with your

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  4. Nice article! I thought it was cute, too. Loved the ending.

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    1. Thanks, sparks! I loved the ending as well.

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  5. Great take on the prompt. I like how you use your real life experiences and blog style to complete the prompt. Yours are always fun to read.

    I, like you, still enjoy doing math by hand. When I used to tutor math, I used to make my students write out every step for whatever we were learning. Oh the moaning and groaning I would hear. But, practice makes perfect! :)

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    1. Mags,
      You are right. Math is all about practice, and so is writing, for that matter.

      I tutored a girl my freshman year in college and she hated math. I'd like to think I made it fun for her but math IS math!

      Thanks for visiting and liking!

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  6. Based on the title alone, I almost didn't click on this. By paragraph two, the words started moving and static took over my ears.

    The maths and I. We are not friends.

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    1. It's like Charlie Brown listening to a grown up. Wha, wha, wha, wha wha!!!

      I know! Thanks for sticking it out!

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  7. I am impressed! I am so number-phobic I can't even recall my own cell number. I always tell myself that it's because I'm so verbal and "artistic." You manage to be verbal and artistic while you clearly enjoy math. You're a better woman than I!

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    1. Not a better woman at all, Gal.

      You wouldn't want to live in this weirdly wired brain. It's just nuts!

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  8. I was utterly useless at maths and still am, but still I can do division that my kids can't. if they can't do adding and division how are they going to do bar work in College I ask them? I admire someone like you who can write and do maths, that's not fair!!!!

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  9. You just made my afternoon by your comment, "...how are they going to do bar work in College I ask them?" So funny but EXACTLY my point! Basic math, done by hand, is a very, very useful skill!!!!

    I am very out of practice with my math skills. I struggle with fiction with regard to writing so....

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  10. I am horrible at math. I always have been. So the next time I'm called upon to do any sort of number-type stuff, I'm asking you! Hahaha! Well done.

    Good luck on the challenge.

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    1. Ooooh! I don't know about that. I'm way out of practice but you can call on me anytime :-) Thanks for the shout out!

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  11. I like that you use the prompt in your own voice, your own perspective. This was a hard one for me. Great job!

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    1. Thanks, Sandra. A lot of these prompts are hard for me but a few have come easy.

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  12. Thanks for linking up to Trifecta this week. If you haven't already done it, you might be interested in clicking on the "Meet Your Fellow Trifectans" tab on our site and introducing yourself there. Hope to see you back on Monday for the new prompt.

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  13. Time moves on. When I was an engineering student 20 years ago, I used to own a TI-52 calculator and regularly scored well on my Calculus papers.
    The TI-52 has long gone and so has my grasp of Calculus, but like you I still do all my Maths by hand.
    Once learnt those old skills stay with you.

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    1. See! Maybe one does score better with a calculator while working calculus problems.

      No grasp here either which was proven to me by kids' high school math.

      I grew up in a family of engineers. My dad always did his math by hand so quite possibly my habit came from him.

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