Do you picture your math teacher? What does he look like?
Is he just as evil as any horror movie psycho-killer and yet still makes Ben Stein seem like America's next runner up on Last Comic Standing? Have you ever caught him or her plotting another twisted homework assignment that will take hours but not teach you anything?
"Welcome to the government-style-K-through-12-approved-mathematics-curriculum-for-brain-washed-vegetables . . ." he says on the first day of class. Not with words maybe. But you know he was thinking it (and grinning on the inside) . If you know exactly what I am talking about, keep reading. This blog is for you! Those guys have turned math mind-numbing piece of muck. Or at least they try as hard as possible to make it look that way.
My opinion on algebra now is that I was never taught why it is so amazing. It was too hard to "see" since it was just letters and numbers with one of these symbols: =, >, < etc. Most of the K-12 math teachers and teaching that I experienced was very left-brained and technical. Right-brained folk like me hardly stand a chance.
My hope is that I can take the technical left-brained stuff that I was taught and turn it into pictures, stories, and anything else from the artist's world. I am currently attending college working toward a BA degree in mathematics. Why? because after algebra, I took trigonometry and calculus (right-brained stuff like that geometry class you liked) from an amazing teacher who helped me visualize it. I discovered how creative and fun this stuff was. I just had to muddle through the first 18 years of the pre-fun math.
So . . . with all that stuff out of the way, I want to tell you how I picture algebra now.
Algebra looks like this:
In class, picture it. But instead of drawing out the whole thing, your math teacher wants you to use a less-fun symbol:
- if it balances, you say that with one of these: =
- if the left side is heavier, go with a "greater than" >
- if right is heavier, then use "less than" <
- Just so you know, if you take something out of one bowl, take it out of both bowls. ( ". . . subtract [whatever blah blah blah] from both sides . . .")
- Same with putting stuff in the bowls. This is a really strong scale. It can hold heaps and heaps of stuff as long as you put it in both sides.
- If its already not balanced, you still might have to add the same amount to both bowls. When it is tipped to one side, it can be something really really small and it can still looks just as tipped (tipsy?) as if there was an extra elephant in that bowl.
- Most of the time, you don't want to change the position of the scale. (don't go from balanced to unbalanced or the other way around)