March 8th, 2008

children of dune - leto 1

mathematics - it's called inducement. blackmail, even

So started section 1.1 of THE HUGE PRECAL BOOK OF DOOM, mostly because I have a suspicion that maybe eight years since my last advanced math? Needs a refresher. I kidnapped Child, his wipeboard, a spiral, pencils, and the first half season of Fullmetal Alchemist. Holding it in front of Child's head, I explained carefully that his ability to watch this show, Dr. Who, Torchwood, or anything sci-fi was directly proportional to how much he fought me.

So, section 1.1 - Algebra review. It feels pretty obvious--the types of properties, negation, rational/irrational, whole, natural, et al, but--shockingly--reading the text was actually educational and a lot easier than when I did it the first time. No, not that I remembered any of it specifically, but that most if it was fairly obvious. The part that was interesting, of course, is explaining to Child, because every property I made a new example for him and he took careful notes. It wasn't hard so much as--hmm.

The thing is, in elementary school, I was taught the shortcuts, which totally fucked forever my ability to prove anything, and in fact, made me unable to conceptualize proofing at all. I got away with it through Calculus, but not in a good way, mostly in a desperate way. Getting the answer was always fairly easy for him; outlining each step to illustrate the why was hard. I don't do it that way; I look and write the answer. For him, it was worse: it was his introduction to parentheses as deciding precedence *and* multiplication, and the dot for multiplication. I really need a bigger whiteboard for this.

a(b + c) = ab + ac -- distributive property really did a number on him. Not because it was hard, per se, but because he didn't see the point.

3(8 + 2) = 3(8) + 3(2) -- he just wanted to solve the plus inside, which yes, according to precedence would work, but I explained in this case, we were doing it this way. I couldn't explain later, it would actually be:

x(3 + y) = (y + 7)/(y + 2) or variations thereof because he would run away. And I need my study partner.

He went with it, but I get the feeling he's not going to understand until he sees it. Same with irrational numbers; he nods at the theory, but I'm guessing it won't sink in until the problem sets.

It's fun, though, in that way I know it will be so much less fun later. His big incentive, apparently, is to be ahead of every other kid in school. And you know, Fullmetal Alchemist, season one second half.