Friday, March 13, 2009

Sudoku Vs. The Short Bus

A little homework for thought...Simplify the variables for the following expression:

H=Girl who sucks at math
M=Girl who enrolled in program involving nothing but complex math & physics skills
T=Girl who placed into not 1, but 2 short bus math classes not even eligible for college credit
X=Short bus math class 1
Y=Short bus math class 2
F=Future algebra and calculus classes


Answer: Girl who sucks at math probably shouldn't have picked an extremely math intensive program and opted for the online math class 1 where she didn't pay attention and used a calculator at home now making math class 2 all the more frustrating while in preparation for the future real math and physics classes needed to graduate.

It all sounds so difficult, right? I thought so too.

The days of Seriously Carla in MA096 are officially over. I'm actually in the second week of my next online math review, the one which will finally allow me to take algebra next semester. Even though i was suppose to take algebra in my first semester but wasn't allowed because of my placement testing so instead opted to bump up physics which was due second semester but essentially is all algebra. Hence my initial struggle with my Armenian nemesis. It's a vicious cycle.

Short bus class 1 was too easy. Not so much the material, as I'm still not the best at fractions, but more so because it was online and unlike the classroom environment i had my fancy smancy calculator in front of me ready and willing to punch out any answers i sought. Which really is dumb on my part because i was completing the work but i wasn't understanding it. And being it was my first ever online class i wasn't sure what to expect, and the way i had to hand in my answers didn't really force me to learn it. Now enter short bus class 2, which is essentially pre-algebra. Now this class has completely different submission techniques and is forcing me to actually work the problems. Turns out fractions really aren't that difficult. In 8 entire weeks of my first class i should have learned everything involved in simple mathematics with subtraction and addition and multiplying and division of whole numbers, integers, fractions and unknown variables. What i should have grasped in 8 weeks literally took me an hour during the review portion of my first assignment for my new math review class.

The worst part was that i was excited. All the sudden I'm all giddy thinking to myself, i don't suck at math. Why didn't they just tell me all you do is find the LCM and rework the fractions. Now I'm all homework happy and am treating these 200 problems due by Monday like it's some level 4 sudoku puzzle.

I compare this to sudoku for one reason and one reason only. If you've ever worked a sudoku puzzle (at least one of the difficult ones), then you probably share my frustration in spending 20 minutes getting a quarter of the puzzle done only to realize it doesn't work and have to erase everything and start all over. In sudoku you know the answer. You know it can only be numbers 1-9 going across, up, down and by sectional squares. Same principle with this new math class. He gives us the answers up front. All he cares about is us showing our work to prove that we understand the concept of HOW to get to the solution. Whereas the first class the professor only cared about the end result, this new professor focuses on the process. Hence, my FINALLY moment in all the sudden grasping any and all math concepts. Granted there was a lot of erasing and reworking that was done, but trial and error works as a learning process, apparently. Bring it bitches, I'm a subtracting fractional machine tonight.

*Disclaimer: The opinions stated in the above blog in reference to short bus math are the opinions of the author only and not the opinion of Blogger or Google. The author reserves all rights to poke fun at her math retardation by referring to her class as short bus math based solely on the fact that she physically and actually did ride a short bus to school for a few years. Any lawsuits brought forth as offense to the above statements may be referred to Mrs. Jarmish, my short bus school bus driver.*

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