Friday, February 15, 2013

"Ask Your Dad to Help You Math" YUP I'm Guilty

I've been feeling really guilty about my former Math-Phobia.  I've been carrying this guilt around for a few years now. I first felt it  a long time ago when I read this blog post by Scott McLeod .  I can't tell you how many times I said

"Ask your Dad for help w/ math"
"I'm not a math person"
"Numbers and I aren't friends"
blah blah blah....

The funny thing is I'm actually pretty good at Math in my every day life.

I've successfully managed a checkbook, mortgage, all that household stuff and paid off my student loans.  I've run my own business, created and managed a budget for our School District Tech Department, managed dozens of accounts for grants. 
I'm REALLY good at calculating just how much 25% off is, super fast at calculating tips, What the best deal is and if free shipping makes it worth it.
I can figure out how much yarn I need for any project, any gauge, any yarn weight. Re-size and adapt any pattern.
I can double, triple or half any recipe.
I've done a good job buying the right amount of paint or wallpaper for a room.
I know how long it will take me to drive anywhere going any speed limit.
I can figure out calories and  how many miles I have to walk to burn off so many calories. ( I may or may not actually walk those miles, but I CAN figure it out!)

I know those math skills don't qualify me for the Field's Medal ( I learned about that from Good Will Hunting)

BUT ....

How did I not  make the connection that all of that was Math .

I vividly remember my first ah-ha math  moment as an adult.  I was using a program called "Math Their Way" in my first grade class.  We had out the unifix cubes and were going over the Associative and Commutative Properties. As the students moved their cubes to represent the properties, I thought Oh! THAT is why they are called associative and commutative.  Before I saw the demos with the cubes, they were just words I memorized! I'm not sure I had every really internalized any of those simple things.

The thing is, the way I was taught, I had no idea that math was so freaking useful!   For me it really was torture, taught in isolation and was for sure a class I often thought "When am I ever going to us this".

Who knew the answer was, are going to use math every single day.

I follow #mathchat via Twitter and am so happy I see so many links, so much information and so much emphasis placed on making that real world connection for students.

It has been a rocky road through my math re-hab, but I think I'm ready to admit it...
Hi, My name is Theresa and I am a math person!

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PS. This post is dedicated to @emergentmath  in honor of his birthday, if you want awesome math ideas and resources follow him via twitter!

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