# Thread: so I used to like algebra

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## so I used to like algebra

and then we started synthetic division. I sucked at it in high school, and now I'm stuck with it in college again... BLAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

I am boycotting homework until the 'morrow

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I agree with you on synthetic division. This is merely a calculation algorithm that does nothing to advance the students' knowledge of the topic. Long division of polynomials is a perfectly adequate alternative and has the virtue that it reinforces the idea that the arithmetic of functions and algebraic expressions is just the same as ordinary arithmetic of numbers.

Did you know that the term "algebra" comes from the title of a treatise written in the ninth century by the famous Arabian-Persian mathematician Al'Kwarizmi? (It is from the name Al'Kwarizmi that we get the word "algorithm" -- it originally meant simply, "reasoning in the fashion of Al'Kwarizmi.")

Anyway, the title of this book was "Al-jabr and Muqabala," which means literally "restoring and balancing."

When you solve an equation like

x - 3 = 5,

you must first "restore" x to its original value by giving back the 3 that was taken away. They you must "balance the books" by adding 3 to the other side as well:

x = 5 + 3 = 8.

So when you do that, you are doing "al-jabr and muqabala."

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I hate division of polynomials period. I mean Synthetic seems easier, but then I forget how to write the answer down... especially with the remainder and then the function of x stuff???? AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH

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Originally Posted by Mathman
Anyway, the title of this book was "Al-jabr and Muqabala," which means literally "restoring and balancing."
Gee, that makes it seem kind of nice. How did you make math sound nice MM??? Is that really possible

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I was good in Math classes during high school - even in advanced classes.

I had a much harder time in college. 4 quarters worth of Calculus. The 1st teacher was not very good - plus I only got a B on the 1st test because I didn't show enough of my work (thus the disadvantage of having taken Calculus in high school). Did ok with the 2nd quarter. However, the 3rd and 4th quarters - I just scraped by. That's when we got into 3 dimensional stuff that I was not getting excited about. I'm not the kinda gal that enjoys how all those theories are derived - as a result, I was usually so bored by the end that I missed the point.

If only I had majored in Information Technology in the Business School instead of Computer Science. Then all that Calculus and Physics that were required as a CS major would have been replaced by Algebra and Science electives. I don't even use Calculas or Physics in my work life. Really pulled down my GPA.

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Sure glad I chose Secondary Education, English....

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yeah but this is just college math... everyone has to take college math lol

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Originally Posted by heyang
I don't even use Calculus or Physics in my work life
I think that's the wrong way to look at it. I don't use the class I took in Shakespeare in my work life either, or the class I took in Art History.

But I'm glad I took them.

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Originally Posted by Mathman
I think that's the wrong way to look at it. I don't use the class I took in Shakespeare in my work life either, or the class I took in Art History.
Really, the ability to look within ones self and see something different than the obvious? Open the mind to possibilities? IMO

Calculus???

Art imitates life, art is in FS. Art is a reflection of the way you feel about yourself, what you see is a refection of you feeling of your life IMO

Calculus???

Physics, everyday of life. IMO

Calculus???

I'm with heyang on 1/2 of that.

Originally Posted by Mathman
But I'm glad I took them.
Great attitude I must say! Love that PMA!!!!

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Originally Posted by SeaniBu
Calculus???
Mathematics is the jewel in the crown of human intellectual achievement. Before Calculus came along, we were trudging along in the dark, struggling in vain to make some sense out of the baffling and incomprehensible world that we found ourselves in.

We were blind...but now we can see!

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i minored in Math and majored in chemistry. I had a 4.0GPA in math - a lot higher than my chem! (which was not too shabby either). My fondest memory of a final is my 100% score in Diffirential Equations!!!

I ended up doing a MS thesis in inorganic chemistry (reactions as opposed to theoretical) - so technically, for my graduate work I didn't need calculaus. However, it is the foundation of science and makes you think. MM put it so eloquantly!!

Do you know that without calculus, we wouldn't enjoy all the advancement in intrumentation that allows to solve crimes? All those "fancy" instruments that folks at CSI shows and the Bones like to spell out (trust me, nobody calls IR as infrared spectroscopy in a real lab) are nothing w/o first and second derivatives.

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Originally Posted by Mathman
Mathematics is the jewel in the crown of human intellectual achievement. Before Calculus came along, we were trudging along in the dark, struggling in vain to make some sense out of the baffling and incomprehensible world that we found ourselves in.
It helped make sense of that which is already to many
Originally Posted by Mathman
We were blind...but now we can see!
"We once had a hard time seeing, and got some glasses." Helped seeing in a way others saw and communicate, that which is.

I must say I LOVE the attitude, but I don't think we can see crap still except what we feel, dream and cherish. Math IMO defines nothing that "could be," only that which can be defined - be that any of the above. A way of explaining with logic something that is already there. If you want to do a process correctly math is the answer in most cases - even Kama sutra has some substance of math - but is a language it simply explains that which is. Not enlightening, just creates the ability to understand.

Originally Posted by STL_Blues_fan
Do you know that without calculus, we wouldn't enjoy all the advancement in intrumentation that allows to solve crimes? All those "fancy" instruments that folks at CSI shows and the Bones like to spell out (trust me, nobody calls IR as infrared spectroscopy in a real lab) are nothing w/o first and second derivatives.
not something most use, but yes, most definitively a necessity of communication - particularly in proving something.

I am not trying to discredit math at all. I praise those with the understanding and ESPECIALLY the ability to teach and make a fun topic (as you have many times MM). It is incredibly useful, like the music in front of an orcastra, but days can go by and it is not used at all, particularly calculus. And a single musician can make music that communicates the essence of life. No manuscript required. ANd yet music can be mathematically explained and communicated.

Toni might use math to take a picture, but I bet it is her "artistic soul" that makes the call. Explainable by math, but not created by it.

Unless we are going to start talking about Eastman and chemistry, art is why it was made. Toni doesn't need math IMO, an agent and a light meter is as close as Annie Leibowitz ever needed to mathematics. Toni could with out it, but you are essentially bringing up the best point of all...

Originally Posted by Mathman
But I'm glad I took them.
That comment in itself is artistic and beautiful in purity of life and experience. Without a doubt veracious!

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I dunno, with teh dawning of the mathmatic and science age I think we became a little more blind to certain aspects of life...

but that's for another class entirely

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Originally Posted by Tonichelle
yeah but this is just college math... everyone has to take college math lol
Yes, but I was only required to take one class-- a blessing for someone with severe math anxiety. Even reading the terms in your post gave me heart palpitations.

Mathman: your students are so lucky. I can honestly say that in all my educational endeavors, I only had one really good math teacher. Maybe if I'd had better ones, I wouldn't have dreaded math so. :sheesh:

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To me, it's not a question of whether an individual "needs" mathematics (or any other academic subject) to be a better plumber or a better insurance salesman. We are talking about a college education, not a vocational training program.

There is a famous story about Euclid. He was teaching geometry and one of the students asked, "yes, but what is all this good for?"

So Euclid told his servant to give the student three pennies, "since he must profit from what he learns." (Actually, it was three obols.)

I must passionately disagree with SeaniBu if he believes that mathematics lacks speculative creativity and is divorced from what we "feel, dream and cherish." In 1906 a clerk in the Swiss patent office (Albert Einstein) saw an imaginative vision the grandeur of which continues to astonish, to delight, and basically to blow our freakin' minds.

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