Today in history...

Well, not necessarily today, but...

For some reason I was doing the "remember when" thing last night and early this morning, and again when I woke up. Ok, it was kind of 'forced' this morning because I wanted to blog on it, but anyway...

One reason I like math and 'logical' things so much can be traced back to a teacher in the 5th grade. (I think they teach his level of math in the 4th grade now.) The first day of class he had taken up one entire large-bulletin board with four columns of numbers, =0 (zero) through =100. For the first couple of weeks he never mentioned the bulletin board, and when asked he would bring us back to the subject at hand. (Ok, it may not have happened exactly like this, but it is how I am remembering it.) Finally he throws down the gauntlet. He challenges his class to create a math equation to solve for each of the answers on the board, the catch? You can only use four 4's to do each of them! Ok, things like 16 were easy (4+4+4+4), and many of them were knocked out in the first few days, but then the 'leftovers' began to hang on. What about solving for things like 63? Or 97? He taught us the power of square routes and 'powers' and other such things. Most of it, I don't remember anymore (that was like 30 years ago), but I remember pouring my heart into it. I loved it so much that I solved over 1/4 of the problems, most of them were of the odd-ball variety (13, 87, 61, 63, 97, etc.). I know this part for sure because as the problems got more and more difficult fewer and fewer students were turning in answers. By the time it was just me turning in answers there were still over fifteen numbers left to solve for - and I eventually answered them all. It affected me so much that when I took 'Finite Math' in college I messed up the curve for the rest of the class, enough that the teacher told the class that he would disregard two of the grades (me and one other guy) for the class curve. Me and the other guy averaged 98 for the semester. I am actually kind of sad that I never took calculus or physics later on. I am no prodigy though. I am nothing like Matt Damon's character in "Good Will Hunting", or anything. But I do LOVE math. I am almost motivated to try and do it again. Hmm...

There are several things that happened while I was a child that I remember doing for the first time and how it affected the man who I am today. Some good, some not so much. I think that's why it is so important for us as parents, and even those of us who are around children. Kids really are like sponges, and it's hard to tell what they are picking up, and what is just getting smeared. ;-)
Verse for today:
Proverbs 22 : 6-10, ESV
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
The rich rules over the poor,
and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
and the rod of his fury will fail.
Whoever has a bountiful [2] eye will be blessed,
for he shares his bread with the poor.
Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out,
and quarreling and abuse will cease.


GUNNY said...

I was a really big math fan back in the day. It's a shame I never get to use any of it.

About 3 weeks ago I was just thinking to myself, "Quadratic Formula, do I still know it."

Having been nigh unto 2 decades since I'd seen it, I was skeptical, but then I was able to rattle it off.

I haven't needed it yet, but you never know!

PJ said...

After reading your story, I think you'd do well in advanced math today. Ever think of teaching math??? I'm always impressed with the characters in "Numbers" -- Charlie and Amita who rattle off math theories like I would parts of speech. Just a thought.

You're so right about affecting our children. Some things my kids say affected them, I can't even remember--or just barely.