I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I was helping my first-grade daughter with her homework recently and was surprised to actually find myself, well, stumped. Not that I didn’t know that was going to happen -- I just didn’t think it would happen so soon. I thought I could make it at least until she needed help identifying frog organs or finding Jakarta.
Granted, she was doing math, which is not my strongest subject -- I recall somewhere between trigonometry and calculus someone brought up imaginary numbers, and I basically gave up. Luckily I’ve never encountered an imaginary number in real life, unless you count my salary. But my wife and I have high hopes that our children will be more math-savvy, in order that they may never have to offer to analyze Proust for food.
And I’m happy to report that my daughter had no trouble with the problem that stumped me, which involved the difference between faces and flat surfaces on three-dimensional shapes. I figure she’s learning this because it’s on the MCAS test somewhere, unlike the things we learned in first grade, like how to make Christmas tree ornaments out of plastic bread-bag closers.
For the rest of this week's AT LARGE by Peter Chianca, click here.
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