FallBlogChallenge2010 - Life as a Mathmatician
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When you're not at school are you still a mathematician? How do you use math to solve problems in your daily life? How did you use it today?
Source: Melanie Holtsman, Once Upon A Teacher: Are You Ready for A Challenge? and list of blogging topics
When not at school, I am NOT a mathematician. I thoroughly hate playing the part of mathematician, which appears to require thinking on your feet, being informed about all things STEM, acting snooty at university conferences, etc. That said, I use math to solve problems every day of my life. It's amazing that the stuff of mathematics can be useful when it appears outside the context of school mathematics instruction.
One of my most oft-used tools involves using a spreadsheet--whether it's GoogleDocs, MS Excel, OpenOffice, Gnumeric doesn't matter--to work my way through math problems at work. Most of them are simple, straightforward like trying to figure out how to prioritize budgets, etc. In fact, working on budgets is what I do, although I find that a database works better than a spreadsheet.
Helen Baca, a colleague, introduced me to databases as a way to handle large budgets in lieu of spreadsheets. Her tip came in handy when I was administering a $1.9 million grant called "Pathways to Advance Virtual Education (PAVE)" and I was able to track expenditures and spend money quite easily. Somewhere, I still have that Filemaker Pro database (at least, I hope I do).
Most of the math problem-solving I do these days is when I'm helping my 6th grader check his homework. While math isn't my strongest weapon in my arsenal, technology has certainly help me approach solutions to life's problems with a more mathematical bent.
An Invitation to Participate: Contribute your own blog posts to Melanie's Fall 2010 Blog Challenge and be sure to tag your entries "fallblogchallenge2010" and send her a tweet! Thanks for the heads-up from Dr. Scott McLeod
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