Confession of My MathAmazement

Here's a lil' somethin' you may not know about me:

I love math. Not in a "I want to take calculus" sort of way. More in a "I like to learn neat tricks about math and implement them into everyday life (i.e., grocery shopping/price comparing)" kind of way.

The other day, I picked up a book in Barnes and Noble called
"MathAmazement". I wanted to buy it. The book jacket looked as if it had been written in 1986, sat on the shelf for that long (although I know it can't have been that long ago, because this particular store was built in the last 5 years), been bleached by the sunshine and clawed by a cat. But it was on clearance for 2 dollars. I really had a hard time putting it back down when I realized I had to downsize or else I'd be putting great strain on myself at some future date when I pack up to go back to Central Asia. :(

When I was a kid, I read a Childcraft book called
"Mathemagic"... filled with interesting little tricks and stories involving math problems. I didn't just read it once. I read it over and over and over. Probably at least 20 times.

I am very tempted every time I see a book filled with logic problems (I know... not so much math, but it kind of counts)... because I think they are so fun to do. Do you remember the ones I'm talking about? The chart with 4 options in 4 different categories and you have to figure out which person (Stan, Suzie, Shem, or Slick) drove which car (Beetle, Buick, BMW, or Bus) to which building (Trump Tower, Park Place, Mickey Manor, or Stampede Stadium) to do which job (butcher, baker, candlestickmaker, or bookie). I LOVE those!!!

Oh, and one more thing: I
have one algebra problem I learned in middle school that I still use fairly often in real life, and some of my friends (including my wonderful husband) make fun of me for this. I was going to be very helpful and include the equation below, so that you all could start to employ this very wonderful habit in your own lives, but then realized that you probably learned and forgotten the same one and have gotten along fine without it. If you're interested, ask in the comments, and I'll include it. If not, I'll just quietly crawl back into my nerdy cave and do a few logic problems! :)


the blackwells said...

OK...I have to know...I was a math nut too. My mom just wrote me a few weeks ago to ask me to figure out a math problem that I knew because I won't ever forget that a^2+ b^2= c^2. :)

The fun part is that Elam loves math, so we get to talk about all the fun math tricks!

EmmyJMommy said...

OOOHHH! I am so glad that Heather asked that before me!!! I was afraid I was becoming a "Making Home" nerd! Thanks Heather!


Jess said...

Okay, well I'm glad you asked, and so quickly too! It makes me feel like a much less serious geek! :)

Here's the formula I use, to determine percentages, particularly in regard to comparing costs of things and to determine how much I'll need of something (useful in converting, etc.)...

A/B = X/100

One way to use it is to determine the amount of something you need. Let's say you need to know how much 2/3 of something (say, 1,430). We know 2/3 is 66%. So you could use the equation like this: x/1430 = 66/100 ... then you'd find out that 2/3rds of 1430 is roughly 944.

Another way to use it: Let's say you have 150 g. of butter, and you know that 225 g. of butter is one cup. But you want to know the percentage of one cup that is, and you don't have a computer or calculator handy. Well, put 150 over 225 on one side, and x/100 on the other side. Then you multiply both sides by 100. And you would find that... 150 is 2/3rds of 225.

I find all kinds of other ways to use this too. I can use it to comparison shop... like with different sized cereal boxes (if the little tags don't tell you cost per ounce or whatever). Anyway, geek or no, it's a very useful formula that I pull out of my bag of tricks every now and then!