Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Pi Day!

In honor of Pi day, I'd like to make a heart-healthy pie.

Here are some recipes I'm considering, but I'm really leaning towards the crustless coconut pie shown above. I might just end up making biscotti, but there will be something delicious in the oven tonight!

In other news, the dogs did well this weekend, playing quite a bit - and no accidents! We'll see how today (first full day since the soil incident) goes.

Back to Pi day...
Being a mathbionerd, I try to realize when I'm being sensitive about math/science topics and when there is reason to be upset about something.

Well, I'm upset with Stephanie Meyer for picking on Calculus. Math gets such a bad rap, but she constantly harps on it, over all other subjects in the Twilight series. Great, she's getting young, impressionable teens (mostly girls) to read, and all she does is dog on math as being frustrating, hard, and something to just skim by. Way to go. Maybe Stephanie had a hard time in math, or maybe that's what the preppy, popular kids do - make fun of the nerds. Well, this mathbionerd is not taking this lying down (I'll be sitting while I type, thank-you)!

I'm not asking that she love Calculus, although I certainly did and still do, but did she have to pick on the little guy? It's almost passé to hate math, be a little creative.

To be fair, moving from a large and well-supported school district in Phoenix to a small town, I could see my 13-year-old self identifying with Bella, wanting to downplay any smarts because they just make you stick out; in a class of 48 knowing the right answer is showing off, being smug, and loses you friends faster than most other social faux pas.

Okay, I get that. Math, however, is a constant struggle for people. From a very young age children are conditioned to expect math to be difficult, and to expect that they'll hate it. Certainly not everyone wants to major in math, but the logic and critical thinking skills developed in this most basic of sciences are invaluable to any life activity. Brushing aside the fact that math is applied to nearly everything we use in daily life (optimizing soda can designs), and is a tool utilized in all STEM and social science research, learning how to do math, in general, prepares us for the world.

Math teaches us to be patient (trying to rush will result in silly, avoidable errors), that the right solution can be reached from a variety of paths, and even in cases where exact solutions are unknowable, we can identify sets of acceptable, and equally valid answers.

So why, oh why, does anyone, especially writers of young adult novels, feel the need to vilify Mathematics?

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