Stories, thoughts, observations, rants and dribble. Just another of my attempts to keep the interested people informed ...

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Arithmephobes Anonymous

Who's afraid of the big bad maths? Quite a lot of people, I would guess. I, personally, have been doubly blessed with a) a highly logical brain and b) being born Chinese (yes, I am being blatantly stereotypical here), and in this case a+b=genius at maths.

What led me to publicly announce my innate abilities in this apparently confusing subject is that I went over to my neighbour's place last night because my dad had told her I'd help one of her kids with his maths. I figured it'd be a tutoring gig, so I went over to speak to her about when I'm free etc (i.e. not often) and arrange something for the future. Instead she just sat me down with him and his latest test paper and made me help him. It was weird. He's only in Year 9 (he's 13 if you don't know what Year 9 is) so the maths was very basic, and what bugged me the most was that neither of his parents could help him with it (am I too judgemental? Yes, but I admit that freely). Anyway, he actually understood everything by the end of it, and it seemed like I had to explain more to her than to him (thankfully she wasn't actually sitting at the table with us the whole time. I think she made him nervous). I went home pretty happy actually, I'm sure I had a positive effect (am I leaning towards teaching? Hell no). Unfortunately, the mum didn't say anything about another appointment or anything, and apparently she thinks my time is free! I don't know where she got that impression. Oh well, the things you do for good neighbourly relations ...

So some of the things we covered (work the answers out if you want to see if you could pass Year 9 maths) - basic algebra, significant figures and decimal places, metric to metric conversions.
  • Expand and simplify: (3a - 4)(2a - 2)
  • Write 2.367 to 3 s.f.
  • What is the perimeter of a triangle with sides 5.2cm, 23mm and 7cm?

For bonus points, who can tell me a real life application for significant figures? This was surprisingly difficult to explain to a kid who didn't get it.

6 comments:

FU said...

timmies is great.. i've got my english cousins hooked :) they come over for their fix every once in a while.

Bond Michelle Bond said...

Damn you Wendel for making me feel stoopid! I have no idea about algebra or working out triangle things or the other question, and the bonus question? I don't know. Does that mean I get minus points?

This is what a girl gets for sending you brain enhancing Jaffa Cakes huh?

Wendebular said...

Imagine Timmy's AND Jaffa Cakes ... yum! ... Maybe a Jaffa Cake/Donut hybrid? ... Could work ...

patty said...

ummmm ummmm, sorry Wendy no good at all in math and relatives......
but you are a genius.... A+B... love p

Rebecca said...

Wow, I think I am going to have to refresh my maths ability before much longer - I know that I do know how to do those things (or at least I once did!), but I'm so rusty that I would want to go away and figure it out first before attempting to explain it to anyone else...

Luckily for me, Jessica (10) is still stuck on her times tables and figuring out that subtraction is just the opposite of addition (except she calls it plussing and minussing - not sure if those are the 'technical' terms they actually use in schools these days!)

Wendel said...

Again, I'm fairly sleep-deprived. I may get my own questions wrong, but I'm going to post the answers anyway.

Why didn't I number them for easy reference?

1)(3a-4)(2a-2)
=6a^2-6a-8a+8
=6a^2-14a+8

2) 2.37

3) [Note: the perimeter is the length of all sides, and these measurements are in different units. I'm not being patronising, really.]
Perimeter=5.2cm+2.3cm+7cm
=14.5cm or 145mm

Bonus question: Still can't think of any real life applications, besides noting the accuracy of 'close enough' figures. :/