Friday, March 28, 2014

Lessons From the Edge

You really will use that math some day.

Do you remember being in math class in high school?
If you were anything like me you wondered, Why do I need to learn this stuff? I'm never going to use it once the test on this chapter is over, anyway!
I mean, I loved my Geometry teacher, and the class was fun. But - Really! - in normal life, when do I ever need to prove that two shapes are congruent? And who cares what the volume of a glass is? If I want to know how much water it holds, I just turn on the faucet and fill it up!

But this week at Edgewood, something strange happened to me.

I used Geometry!

As I was setting the chairs up to get ready for exercise class, D asked me, "How far is it around a circle that is 12 inches?" After some clarifying questions I understood that he was looking for the circumference of a circle with a diameter of 12 inches.
I thought for a minute and said, "Well, if I remember correctly, the formula for circumference is pi times radius squared. And if the diameter is 12, the radius is 6. So that would be 3.14 times 36." And I got out my trusty calculator (because I was too lazy didn't have enough time to figure it out long-hand) and determined the distance to be 113 inches.
Which I immediately reported to D.
Then I was curious why he'd asked me the question so I asked him, "Why did you wonder?" D told me he was trying to figure out how far he'd just "gone" on the pedaling gadget he was using. He knew the pedals were 12 inches apart, but didn't know how to figure out the rest. With the information I had given him, D could now multiply 113 inches by the number of rotations he had gone and find out how far he had "traveled". He was so happy!
And I thought it was pretty cool that just 27 years after I studied it, something I learned in Geometry proved useful in my every-day-life.

So, when your kiddos complain to you about the things they "have to learn", tell them to persevere. Tell them I said, You really will use that math some day.

Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own, and may not necessarily reflect those of Vista Springs Living Centers.

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