Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tough maths

A new study says that when it comes to daughters and their propensity for maths and science in later life, Dads are to blame. If Dads hold stereotypes, they hold their daughters back.

One a related note, I thought that it may be the 11th or 12th Grade before my daughter came home with a maths problem that stumped me. (The earlier that happened the better the reflect on our education system.) Usually, I look over her homework and try and work it out in my head. It never takes more than a minute and then I can at least check whether she gets it right or not. (By the way, we might talk about it, if she doesn't but I never give her the answer.) And some of those problems are tricky. Last term she had one where she had to take a clock face and draw two lines across it such that the numbers in each of the resulting three areas summed to the same number. Took her about 15 minutes and me about 2 (more than I wanted at the very least).

So this week's problem has me worried. Take the numbers 1 though 9 and keep them in that order. Then using any operator (+, -, x or /) and also parentheses make them into an expression that equals 100. Now I can see how to do that by trial and error but I can also see that is going to take sometime. My daughter is currently slogging through that. But I can't see how to do it simply. I ran out of my 5 minute limit so I thought I'd post it here for your amusement. Please feel free to leave, not the answer, but any short-cuts in the comments.