Math is Cool


Math is cool, and my 16 year old son is looking at me like I'm even older than I am.  First of all, you may have been sent here because you missed Question 11 of the amazing math maze (twice).  Or, you may have just done a search for the title of this page.  Either way, you're in a good place.  I'll address the question first and then I'll pontificate a bit on the coolness of mathematics.

Question 11b

In our equation examples, x and y are the variables.  You plug in a value for x and it gives you a value for y.  So, the value of y is dependent on the value that you give to x.  The exponent or power of x determines the type of equation.  If you set up one side of the equation to be y and have that equal to something else, we can look at the exponent of x and determine whether the exponent is a 1 or not.  If the power of x is 1, then the equation is linear.

To make things a little more confusing, if there is no exponent, we assume the exponent is 1.  So, in the equation y = x, the exponent of x is considered to be 1.  In our question, we had the following choices.

a) y = x + 4

b) y = x + 22

c) y = x2 + 7

d) y = 4x + 4

Most of the equations are linear.  You were supposed to pick the one equation that was not linear.  There is no exponent on x in "a", so we assume an exponent of 1.  Choice "a" is linear.  I tried to trick you in choice "b".  The exponent on the 2 is not an exponent on x.  There is no exponent on our variable x, so we assume it to be 1.  The answer is not "b".  In "c" x has an exponent of 2.  The exponent is the number above the rest of the numbers.  Since it's a 2, it means take x times itself.  If it was a 4 it would mean take x times itself 4 times.  If x has an exponent that is not 1, then x is not linear. 

Let's give it one more try.  Remember to choose the one that does not have an exponent of x that is 1.  By the way, the reason we call these linear is because - if you graph them - the solution points form a straight line.

a) y = x + 3

b) y = - x2 + 7

c) y = x + 24

d) y = 3x + 3

Click the letter corresponding to the equation that is not linear.  

  a) b)  c)  d)  

Math is Cool

Well, no - not really.  Math is Cool in the sense that it is extremely powerful.  It is always correct.  And I believe it to be the language of God.  But, if - by "Cool", you mean it will make you attractive to the opposite sex.  Well, probably not.  However, to be fair - I am happily married and I've always been a nut about math.

There's an interesting website with an article that attempts to answer the question "Why Must I Learn Math" by Mark Karadimos.  But does it make you "cool".  I don't really know.  Will a lack of mathematics make you an idiot - definitely.  You'll soon find yourself making statements like - "The town was decimated by a horrific flood" which actually means that 90% of the town was untouched.  Wait a minute, that may not be math - this could be a vocabulary problem.

So - "Math is Cool", that statement is up for debate.  Should math be cool?  Definitely!

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