Thursday, June 02, 2005

Girls Who Hate Math

"I hate math."

"Yeah, I hate math too."

That's daughter A to daughter B. Two girls, very different, now sisters via a marriage that takes male parent of A, adds it to the female parent of B, to equal a family of 5 - give or take an error percentage of 1.

(The error percentage refers to the youngest child, male, who is shuffled between 2 states -- two states in the United States of America, not like 'two states of matter,' solid or gas...)

That's our family math. These two girls, who really are sisters (willing to kill one minute, giggling & working together to topple the parents the next), are very different. Yet they can agree on the hatred of mathematics.

It seems to me that most girls say they hate math. And math being such a large part of science, many girls say they hate science too. Which is sad, for both these girls are naturals at science.

They question.

They ask for proof.

They are fascinated to see things work.

Hell, they laugh at examples of gravity - i.e. people falling down.

They just don't see how science is everywhere. Or how it could be. And if they did, they'd avoid it like the plague -- just because it involved math.

Math is really a small part of science. It's merely the language of measurement. And unlike most languages, it has rules of order & arrangement which do not change.

You never hear of "1 + 1 = 2, except after 50."

You memorize even numbers: say 2,4,6,8 -- there is no "& sometimes 7."

There are no tricks. For example, you need not worry about the silent 3 in 5,446.

Math is the language of measurement, & the easiest part of science really. It's the part that never changes; it's constant, consistent & clear.

The difficulty in science is all the 'other stuff.' The ability to question. The ability to frame the question in a framework which can be measured. The ability to rebound when the measurement isn't enough evidence to support or disprove your question.

But these are all the areas the girls excel:

They question regularly.

They love to weasel their way out of the rules, and so could easily re-work a question to fit their needs.

They often fall & get back up again.

All they need to do now, is see that math is a reliable way to talk about it all.

They sure love to talk...
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