The Quadratic Formula

I failed high school.  Badly.  My grade point average, to be exact, was 2.2.  I slept through Math, literally.  I never got past basic algebra. I was good at “proofs” but bad at everything else. I just didn’t see the point.

Well, Karma has a wicked sense of humor.  Here is the joke:

A child asks his dad, “Why do I need to learn math?”  The father smiles and answers, “So you can do YOUR son’s homework one day.”

My children are now struggling with Math, specifically the Quadratic Formula.

Quadratic_Formula

 

My first instinct on this was the Google it.  I panicked and bought a subscription to MathWay.com.  That may have been a mistake.  I then saw a video on the Quadratic Formula on Khan Academy.  Good information and make me slightly less panicky.  I knew what I needed to do.

I opened Excel.

I don’t know what the problem is, but Excel is the answer.  It is my favorite program and it would not let me down. I quickly prayed to Bill Gates, Please Obi-Bill, help me, you’re our only hope.

I looked at the formula and step-by-step-by-step, I reduced the formula.  One cell at a time.  At the end, I could plug any of the numbers in and it would spit out the answer immediately.  However, this wouldn’t teach the boy math! I needed to go further.

I used the Excel Formula Editor to write the actual formula on the sheet.  I used the numbers on the left to help fill in the gaps.  I reduced the formula until it was finished. I admit, my oldest son helped us a little, but the magic was in Excel.

Take a look at this masterpiece of an excel sheet detailing out the quadratic formula.

Excel should be used to teach everything about Math.  Writing with a pencil should be replaced with teaching kids how to use Excel to solve problems.  Kids would learn more math and science in the process.  I am convinced of this.  The cell-by-cell process works.  I wish I had it as a kid.

But hey, it’s never too late to learn math. (sarcasm – I hate math)

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