Author Topic: Math Doesn't Suck ...  (Read 1908 times)

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Offline Kekerusey

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Math Doesn't Suck ...
« on: December 07, 2012, 03:01:43 pm »
Quote
... you do.

Every time I hear someone say "I suck at math," I immediately think he or she is a moron. If you suck at math, what you really suck at is following instructions.

I thought you guys might like this, it's a [arguably] a bit harsh (I'd like to think harsh but fair) and I certainly don't think it applies to math alone, science is often something that people (proudly) claim they know nothing about but enjoy :)

Math Doesn't Suck, You Do

Keke
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Offline Tìtstewan

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Re: Math Doesn't Suck ...
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2012, 04:51:33 pm »
Lol, that blog rocks. It's written really "hard"... :)
...but a bit funny. ;D

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Offline eejmensenikbenhet

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Re: Math Doesn't Suck ...
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2012, 06:58:44 pm »
Math doesn't suck of course, but if that's what one thinks, this person doesn't suck either.
What does suck is the way math is brought to the students. I like math, I like it a lot, but I hate math class at school because the teacher can't bring it in such a way that I want to understand it. I understand it, but I don't want to, I think that there's the fine line between someone saying "Math sucks!" and someone saying "Math rocks!".

I watch numberphile and ViHart a lot on YouTube, their videos have a certain bit that makes me want to watch them.

A little offtopic: a message I found on Facebook that none of my other friends seemed to understand:
sqrt(-1) 2^3  Σ π and it was delicious!

Offline Irtaviš Ačankif

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Re: Math Doesn't Suck ...
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2012, 07:19:35 pm »
Yup. The way math taught, especially in elementary school, is totally horrible. I never recalled anybody ever teaching things like the precise definition of addition (with regards to fractions? square roots?), why long division and long multiplication works, and ways to do multiplication without memorizing a huge multiplication table or using long multiplication. Ended up doing all the work by myself, because I was too curious ^^. I'm sure most people would just get bored.
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Offline Eana Unil

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Re: Math Doesn't Suck ...
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2012, 08:01:05 pm »
I have to admit: I always hated math at school and never were good at it. I sucked at math, yes. But that wasn't the reason I hated it. I hated it because some day I missed 2 weeks of lessons at school, because I got the flue, and after this point I could never catch up, especially in math class. This all went so bad, that some day my math teacher back then gave up hope on me instead of helping me. And this even though I really tried to catch up. My uncle, who was really good at math, tried to help me learn. But it didn't help. I stayed being bad at math - until today.

And this even though I loved math in elementary school. In 1st grade, I was even the best in multiplication tables (I even got a small certificate for this). But yeah. Indeed, math doesn't suck, I did. And still do. Because my teachers left me behind. Which is quite a bitter pill for me, even until today.

:/

Math doesn't suck. (Most) math teachers do.

Offline `Eylan Ayfalulukanä

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Re: Math Doesn't Suck ...
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2012, 08:49:24 pm »
I sucked at math. I still suck at math. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. The challenge I ran into was remembering all the exceptions to the rules when dealing with things like factoring. I enjoy math recreationally now. And in my job, I do more higher math (without the use of a computer) than anyone else here because it is part of my job.

And although I have trouble actually doing the math behind it, I am slowly learning several types of calculus, so I can better understand theoretical physics.

As far as that article, the author is right on. But I did not at all like that writing style. It was offensive, and therefore hard to read.

And I agree that a good teacher makes all the difference in the world. The teacher I had for trigonometry was really excellent (and the head of the math department at our school-- her husband was a language arts teacher, and hs class was the biggest joke in the school. Thankfully, I never had to endure him.). If I had had her for the rest of my math courses, I would probably be much better at it than I am today.

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Offline Kekerusey

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Re: Math Doesn't Suck ...
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2012, 03:42:37 am »
I don't suppose I was that good at math at school but I love science and math is an integral (probably not the right word but you get my meaning I hope) part of science so I learned ... sure I can't follow through complex formulas (as in advanced physics) but basic algebra and stuff is OK. In many ways math, as long as you have a decent grasp of numbers and the ability to do "ballpark" calculations in your head, is just learning a basic set of rules and applying them.

So yeah, no genius at math, but I can hold my own in an ordinary ("reasonably math literate") sense ... but then that's probably true (for me) of most of the rational type subjects and the reason I am what I am.

Keke
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"Keye'ung lu nì'aw tì'eyng mì-kìfkey lekye'ung :)"
Geekanology, UK Atheist &
The "Science, Just Science” Campaign (A Cobweb)

Offline Clarke

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Re: Math Doesn't Suck ...
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2012, 01:16:45 pm »
A little offtopic: a message I found on Facebook that none of my other friends seemed to understand:
sqrt(-1) 2^3  Σ π and it was delicious!
First time I read this, I didn't get it, because I tried to read it "I eight sigma pi", which doesn't work.  :P

I sucked at math. I still suck at math. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. The challenge I ran into was remembering all the exceptions to the rules when dealing with things like factoring.
If the rules you know have exceptions, you are remembering the wrong rules.  ;)

I don't suppose I was that good at math at school but I love science and math is an integral (probably not the right word but you get my meaning I hope) part of science so I learned ...
I thought you were making a bad pun.  :D

Offline Irtaviš Ačankif

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Re: Math Doesn't Suck ...
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2012, 02:00:35 pm »
The "exceptions" may show up in certain conventional methods of finding a solution - it often results from avoiding expressions like 0/0. It never shows up in the math itself. For example, completing the square on equations is a messy and unrigorous process, but the fact that solutions exist to any quadratic equation in the form of the quadratic formula has no exceptions.

Another favorite quasi-exception is the "formula" that the integral of xa is xa+1/(a+1) but weirdishly x-1 (1/x) has integral ln|x|. The problem is again avoidance of 0/0. If one takes the limit

lima->0xa/a

you get exactly ln|x|!
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Offline Clarke

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Re: Math Doesn't Suck ...
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2012, 02:37:40 pm »

Offline eejmensenikbenhet

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Re: Math Doesn't Suck ...
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2012, 02:49:43 pm »
Avoiding 0/0 in limits is kinda fun as well.
Let's say you have this:

limx→0 (2sin(x)-sin(2x))/(x-sin(x))
If you'd work this out it would turn into 0/0, so what do we do? We use L'Hôspital's rule :D

The rule says that if
limx→c f(x)/g(x) = 0 or limx→c f(x)/g(x) = ∞
(in other words: f(x) = g(x) = 0 or f(x) = g(x) = ∞)
then
limx→c f(x)/g(x) = limx→c f'(x)/g'(x)

Using this on our example, we get the following:
limx→0 (2cos(x)-2cos(2x))/(1-cos(x)) =
limx→0 (-2sin(x)+4sin(2x))/(sin(x)) = -2+8/1 = 6

No you don't???
Haha, this was explained on a Numberphile video. I think it was this one.
Wolfram doesn't look at unreal approaches so...
« Last Edit: December 09, 2012, 02:57:52 pm by eejmensenikbenhet »

Offline Clarke

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Re: Math Doesn't Suck ...
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2012, 03:31:16 pm »
If it was as something as simple as L'Hôspital's rule, I'm amazed Wolfram didn't catch that.

Still, TIL.  :D (Since I just did it on paper to prove it to myself.)

Offline eejmensenikbenhet

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Re: Math Doesn't Suck ...
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2012, 04:12:43 pm »
If it was as something as simple as L'Hôspital's rule, I'm amazed Wolfram didn't catch that.

Still, TIL.  :D (Since I just did it on paper to prove it to myself.)

You're absolutely right, it's not as simple as L'Hôspital's rule.
Let's try to solve this one:
lima→0 xa/a
lima→0 xa/a = x0/0 = 1/0
Which means we can't use L'Hôspital's rule...
So in that way, Wolfram is right. ;)

lima→0 xa/a
Would split into these two limits:
lima↑0 xa/a = -∞
lima↓0 xa/a = ∞

Offline Clarke

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Re: Math Doesn't Suck ...
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2012, 04:40:02 pm »
Now I'm even more confused, since you're right that a^x = 1 as x->0, but I got the right answer of ax/x => log(a) anyway.  ???

Offline Zusupa Tanhì

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Re: Math Doesn't Suck ...
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2013, 04:36:34 pm »
Yup. The way math taught, especially in elementary school, is totally horrible. I never recalled anybody ever teaching things like the precise definition of addition (with regards to fractions? square roots?), why long division and long multiplication works, and ways to do multiplication without memorizing a huge multiplication table or using long multiplication. Ended up doing all the work by myself, because I was too curious ^^. I'm sure most people would just get bored.

For a long time, I did get really bored with math. I understood it, yes, but I wasn't very good at it because I didn't want to be. Eventually, when I took a year of homeschooling through the K12 online school I got far better at math because it was interesting.

I'm not that into it even now, but I certainly don't say 'math is hard'. If you think that, it becomes so.
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Offline Pam (P.A.'li makto)

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Re: Math Doesn't Suck ...
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2013, 01:15:46 am »
IMO understanding Maths needs a special way of thinking. Some people are able to think that way, some are not. That's why some people learn it easily, while others need more help. Those who are good at Maths like it and think it's beautiful, plain and fair. While the others hate it and see it disgusting.
I tried very hard to make all my students like Maths. I did not succeed. I can help them, explain things again and again, make the material interesting or even funny, but I can't change their way of thinking. We are all different. Mathematical logic is a wonderful thing, but not everybody owns it. They may have other kinds of logic, very useful in life, but not enough in Maths classes. That's it.
Patience and understanding may help. Besides having pleasure in those who think Mathematically.
My opinion... May be wrong... I don't know...
Er... I'm a Maths teacher. Alas.
Pam
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Offline Zusupa Tanhì

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Re: Math Doesn't Suck ...
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2013, 05:14:42 am »
And there's certainly a middle ground, too! People might not love math, but be perfectly capable of doing well on math-related topics.
Stay your blade from the flesh of the innocent.
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Do not compromise the Brotherhood.
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