[In the last episode, Alexandria Jones discovered a mysterious treasure: three wooden sticks, like tent pegs, and a long loop of rope with 12 evenly spaced knots. Her father explained that it was an ancient Egyptian surveyor’s tool, used to mark right angles.]
Back at the camp, Fibonacci Jones stacked multi-layer sandwiches while Alexandria poured milk and set the table for supper.
“Geometry,” Fibonacci said.
“Geo means earth, and metry means to measure. So geometry means to measure the earth. That is what the Egyptian rope stretches did.”
Alex thought for a moment. “So in the beginning, math was just surveying?”
[In the last episode, Alexandria Jones, daughter of the world-famous archaeologist, caught her father’s arch-enemy trying to uncover the Pharaoh’s Treasure.]
…”I can’t believe it!” Simon Skulk threw down the last stone in disgust and walked away. At the mouth of the cave, he turned back and shook his fist. “You haven’t seen the last of me, Alexandria Jones.”
Her muscles aching, Alex sank to the ground and hugged her dog. The she gave him a little push toward the front of the cave. “Rammy, go get Dad.”
Ramus barked once and took off running.
Alex turned back to look at the Pharaoh’s Treasure. Where the last stone had stood was a hole. In the hole lay three wooden sticks, like tent pegs, and a long loop of rope with 12 evenly-spaced knots.
What teacher hasn’t heard a student complain, “When am I ever going to have to use this?” Didn’t most of us ask it ourselves, once upon a time? And unless we choose a math-intensive career like engineering, the truth is that after we leave school, most of us will never again use most of the math we learned. But if math beyond arithmetic isn’t all that useful, then what’s the point?
If you or your student is singing the Higher Math Blues, here are some quotations that may cheer you up — or at least give you the strength of vision to keep on slogging.
My computer and I seem to have come to a temporary truce: I pretend I’m never going to shut it off again, and it pretends it’s always going to come back if I do have to reboot. (Nope, no new computer in the offing at this point. We’re just at a cease fire here, until the next big thunderstorm throws a power outage at us…) So I thought it was high time for me to get back into the habit of blog posting.