Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Adventures in Math

Week 1 Recap of Math 10
First of all, ya gotta love a class with a text book named
Succeed with Math: Every Student's Guide to Conquering Math Anxiety

Just like a good trail run, I may not get things done as fast as everyone else, but I will embrace my weakness, celebrate my strengths, learn things along the way, and enjoy the journey as I tackle my
First Math class since 1988!

Over the years, I have come to love the thrill of embracing a challenge. Physical challenges have become something I seek, and thrive off of. I have experienced, survived, and have learned from many emotional experiences. However, academic challenges have always proven to be the most intimidating to me...especially Math.
I was really NOT looking forward to spending 4 hours each week for 10 weeks being reminded what it feels like to NOT be very good at something.
With the way I was dreading having to attempt Math at a collegiate level, no one would believe I was once considered an AP (Advanced Placement) Math Student.
I’m not entirely sure if an AP Math Class is where I was supposed to be, but I had placed in the 90-95 percentile for Math on my CAP tests (California Aptitude Test) before entering junior high.  I am not sure if they still do these tests, but back-in-the-day we all had to take the tests and the tests determined the type of classes/levels we would take. So, as I entered 7th Grade, I was officially and AP Student in Math, English, and Science.
I had started out doing very well in the AP Math Classes, but by the time we got to Algebra I was a very sick kid. I had missed 84 school days that year due to bronchitis, pneumonia, strep, scarlet fever, and sinus infections.
Hmm, amazing I didn’t get scurvy, rickets, or the plague!
Missing so much of the in-class instruction made it impossible for me to keep up with the class. Interestingly, I was able to ace all my AP English and Science classes during that time. Sadly, I failed my first attempt at AP Algebra in the 7th grade so I had to take AP Algebra again in 8th grade...and on the second attempt, I got a D+.
So I had to take Algebra again in 9th grade.
Algebra for the 3rd time! I was humiliated.
 All my “smart” friends were now taking Trig in 9th grade. I not only had to re-do math, I was going to be placed in the “stupid kids” Algebra class. Ya know, a non-AP class.
I’m not entirely sure why math just didn’t translate from a book to my brain back in those days, but after last night’s class, I realized that if I am guided through the process and DO the process while attending to continuity, I can almost feel comfortable with basic problems.
I liken it to following a baking recipe or executing proper ballet technique before progressing to other forms of dance...if you do not have the absolute basics, things fall apart when you try to progress faster or father than poor/inadequate training will support.

This class is covering pretty much everything I never learned or don’t remember
Week 1:          Exponents and Order of operations.
Week 2:          Fractions.
Week 3:          Ratios, Proportions, and Percent.
Week 4:          Algebra.
Week 5:          More Algebra.
Week 6:          More Algebra and Graphing Lines.
Week 7:          More Graphing Lines and Trigonometry.
Week 8:          Statistics.
Week 9:          More Statistics.
Week 10:       Our Final Exam!

Each class is a little over 4 hours long on Monday nights.
We meet in Little Tokyo in DTLA from 6:30-10:30pm.
The professor totally understands us freaked-out dancers.
Most of us have not done math in at least 20 years!
He is really patient, and it’s totally obvious that he really does want us to "get it."
The 4 hours actually went by really fast.
Looking forward to next week!