### Cure for Math-o-phobia

#### by ryan

When I was in high school and college, I wasn’t that into chemistry and biology but the one subject that I really couldn’t stand was math. I always saw it as only memorizing formulas and I reacted against the idea that each problem only had one right answer.

As an explainer I’ve been exposed to various trainings, exhibits and playgrounds that have expanded my view on math and made it more interesting and relevant to my life. On Friday we had a training with a math teacher from Canada (and I’m sorry i don’t remember his name) and he shared a perspective that offered a good way for math-o-phobics like myself to relate to the subject.

He presented math as a way to think of solving problems from what is the biggest tree to the most efficient ways to fit cars in the parking lot to how to measure the curve of Lombard street. And in these problems his focus was not on the ‘right’ answer but in the process of figuring out the way to look at the problem. And in that sense its more of a tool for looking at the world and understanding things in our everyday lives. We only spent a short time in the training but for the rest of the day we tried to figure out the answer to this problem…

How many times in a day do the hands of a clock make a right angle?

Hint : you may have to use the chalkboard at the final final to figure it out.

Um, are you going to tell us the answer?

Does that say 43.5? Because Sally, Manpreet and me counted 44 using my pocket watch, so 43.5 isn’t too far off.

You’re right about the answer, Josue. I’m really glad that you pointed out that you can get the exact same answer using a completely different method.

The answer to the clock question using both of our methods is 44 (our 43.5 rounds to 44 as the answer needs to be a whole#), but what i think is more important than the answer, Mary, are the processes we went through together to reach it!

Actually k has to be less or equal than 43.5. But k starts from zero and is an integer, so the allowed values are

0,1,2,…,42,43.

So 44 times total.

I agree, but you don’t know if the process you’re using works if you don’t know what answer you’re supposed to get (when there *is* a right answer!). Thanks!

Teamwork!

I just wish I could have used teamwork and cooperation during my high school math tests!