Wednesday, May 17, 2017

We've Been Down This Road Before


If x  times 3 = 3x and you subtract 12 = y over 3x squared, what are y and x?  We will never know.  Apparently it doesn't matter. Order of operation matters. Order of operations is a way of thinking logically - so says the mathematician.  Do you know how boring you sound?  Only math nerds understand the numbers game and the results of getting there - though most of the problems are never completely finished - they are written down as far as they can go.  So an acceptable answer could look like this: 4x+3q+8-7n=y^12  What????? 

If we don't ever know what q or y or the rest of the letters are - what's the point???  Roland says it's to learn logic.  I don't learn logic!  I am too dang frustrated to be logical.  I want to scream, swear, pull out my hair, and hurt whoever it is that came up with x(3-6)+[6*(n-q)4]-12x in the first place. Give me a break!  I was not put on this planet to answer mixed up number/letter riddles.  This is NOT my lot in life.  On top of that I'm I have to have dictionary just to translate words such as "Polynomial" and "Monomial" Is this a math class or an English class?  Make up your mind.  Or maybe "algebra" means "a combination of letters and numbers that will either a) have a person so confused that they may end up hating all forms or math or b) you will be able to relate to this subject better than people and math will therefore become your best friend"

I don't know how many students are in my math class.  I'm guessing thirty.  It appears that there are a couple of math nerds, but overall, the majority of us despise math, don't speak math, get lost in math, are confused by math, are taking the course because it's required and pray that we may pass the course just to get it over with, hate math, just don't get it, don't really care.  Guess which group I fall into?

Recently my instructor posted the following:  One of the big topics for this week was simplifying a problem using the correct order of operations.  Why is this so important?  Take the following problem for example: 

2(8=7) - 3 x 4 + 2

Let's say two students are working together to simplify this problem.  Student A chooses to work the problem in the following manner:

2(8 + 7) – 3 x 4 + 2 
2(15) – 3 x 4 + 2  Parenthesis first
30 – 12 + 2  Multiplying in order from left to right second
20  Adding and subtracting in order from left to right last

Student A got a final answer of 20

Now let's say Student B chooses to work the problem in the following manner:

 2(8 + 7) – 3 x 4 + 2 
2(15) – 3 x 4 + 2  Parenthesis first
30 – 3 x 4 + 2  Multiply starting at the left
27 x 4 + 2  Continue from left to right with subtraction next
108 + 2  Continue from left to right with multiplication next
110  Addition last

Student B got a final answer of 110.

Which student is correct? 

This would be my answer:

          Student A would be the correct answer because he/she is using the correct order of operations (PEMDAS) but I understand how Student B would come up with his/her answer - IT FEELS LOGICAL to do it that way.

          Simplified?  In math?  Unless we are doing basic addition or subtraction, for me personally, the word "simple" can be associated with anything math related.  It's an oxymoron.

I think algebra is an oxymoron.


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