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Math News

October 09, 2016

With the first quarter nearly over, the various math classes have several concepts under their collective belts.  

Algebra class has taken a look at classifying numbers, working with signed numbers, following the order of operations and converting from one unit to another, among other things.  Speaking of unit conversions, one of the most difficult concepts for students to understand is how to convert cubic units back and forth.  For example, when converting from cubic yards to cubic feet, one does not simply multiply by 3 (even though we all know that 1 yard is 3 feet).  Since a cubic yard has three dimensions (length, width, height), it is necessary to instead multiply by 27 (which is 3 x 3 x 3).  Essentially you are multiplying by 3 once for each of those dimensions.

Geometry began their year by looking at the three basic "building blocks" of geometry, also known as "points, lines and planes."  From the walls of a house to a stop sign to the more complex hexagonal prism (which is the official term for the six-walled classrooms at OHS), it's truly amazing how many real life objects are simply combinations of these three fundamental geometric principles.  Since then, students have moved on to other concepts like perimeter, area and angle measurement.

The General Math classes are currently spending their time studying geometric concepts, before eventually moving on to some algebraic concepts during the third quarter.  Finally, they will spend the fourth quarter learning how to apply math in the job environment.

Algebra 2 have been studying matrices recently.  While that sounds terribly irrelevant, a matrix (singular form of matrices) is simply a group of numbers arranged in rows and columns.  If you've ever looked at a baseball box score, you've probably seen the score broken down inning by inning, ie. the two rows of numbers where you see the number of runs each team scored each inning.  Yeah, that's a matrix.  And people say algebra isn't used in real life.  Baseball says otherwise :)

Both the Trigonometry and Calculus classes have had their work cut out for them, as they have spent their first quarter solving math problems reserved for those who are college bound, and not faint of heart where math is concerned.  Critical thinking and problem solving abound.  (Fortunately for them, critical thinking and problem solving are two skills Nebraska employers are looking for in their potential employees, according to a recent study).  Simple math is in the rearview mirror.  Gone are the days when a math problem can be solved in a few seconds.  Most of the problems they tackle take several minutes and multiple strategies.  

Here's a sample of the problems our students tackle.  If you can get all these correct, you get an A :)

Algebra:  Your living room is 12 feet long and 10 feet long.  How many square yards of carpet would you need to cover it?

Geometry:  Why do photographers use a tripod when they take pictures?

General Math:  You are filling up the 15-gallon tank of your car with gas.  Gas is on sale in Osceola for $2.36/gallon.  Gas is on sale in York for $1.99/gallon.  Would you save more money by purchasing your gas in Osceola or York?  (Keep in mind that driving to York involves the additional cost of the gas you would use driving there and back).

Algebra 2:  A store purchases a TV for $115.  They plan to markup the TV by 500%.  What price will they sell it for?

Trig/Pre-Calc:  Ten workers can complete a road project in 15 days.  How long would it take 25 workers to complete five of the same road projects? 

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