A lesson in frustration

What she Wore: White polo with green edging on the collar and cuffs, baggy jean capris, khaki slides with green bows and an espadrille heel.

This week I’m going to a class on better teaching math.  I went to school to be an English teacher, so I thought I’d take advantage of these types of opportunities.  It’s a $400 class, but I get to go for free since the they’re using my school’s building.
One of the exercises was a classic math puzzle.  On the first day you have one grain of rice, the next day you double it, the following day you double it again.  The question was–how many grains of rice do you have on day thirty-two?  What about day sixty-four?  Do you think you’ll reach a million?
Some teachers immediately set in carefully multiplying by two on their caculators.  As an Algebra teacher, however, I knew that there was a formula for this very problem–only I couldn’t remember it.  One of my colleagues and I sat there scribbling away trying to figure out the pattern.  We tried this and that, but were unable to come up with the formula.  We fooled with the base number–we fooled with the exponent–we still did not find the answer.  After about ten minutes had passed, the moderator gave each group a piece of paper, and asked us to write about our process.  I wrote in large letters, "We became frustrated."  Two other groups got the answer.   
It was good for me to be in that position.  It’s very hard to remember those days, sitting in a math class, having no idea what was going on.  I emerged with a good lesson about not forgetting those days before I had all the answers provided to me.  I got to be a frustrated student for a short while–and I HATED IT!
I know you really want to know what that formula was, so here it is: 2 n-1  Where n=the day

About takedeux

In one summer I had a baby who was hospitalized for five weeks, quit my job, and moved back to my hometown. This blog is about starting over.
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24 Responses to A lesson in frustration

  1. Karla says:

    Algebra was a long time ago (~13 years ago), but I was one of those nerds that actually enjoyed math. I am not sure how much of the stuff I don\’t use on a day-to-day basis I actually remember. Maybe 5%? Although I guess I use it on a daily basis more than most.

    Don\’t worry about me for this weekend. Tell your HUB he can cook whatever he wants. I am sure whatever it is, it will be well worth the diet cheat. Besides there is nothing more annoying than a guest whose diet habits determine everyone else\’s food. I figured I wouldn\’t be able to 100% keep the diet anyway (alcohol anyone?). I am going to TRY to make a conscious effort to avoid sugary desserts, bread and pasta if possible, but otherwise I\’ll just be extra good the rest of the week.

  2. Jaysey says:

    I had a similar experience recently when I went to a conference.  THe group leader had us write for an extended period of time.  When he rand a bell, we had to switch with a partner, read what they wrote and write a couple of thoughtful questions based on what we read.  Then, when the bell rang again, we had to switch back, read the thoughtful questions and respond to them.  When the bell rang again, switch again, more thoughtful quuestions.  Bell!  More thoughtful answers…it kept going and going and going until I thought I would scream…or my hand would fall off–one.  I understood the point of the activity well because I do a similar one in my class with my students.  And now I know why they roll their eyes and sigh so loudly.  With the advent of computers, we just aren\’t used to actually hand-writing this much.  Lesson learned. 🙂

  3. KEL says:

    I hate being a frustrated student!  For me its when I go to work and can solve what seems to be the simplest computer problem but have to turn around and ask the same guy how to figure out the z table in statistics….
    Just goes to show that we never stop learning!~K
    Love the shoes!!

  4. siobhan says:

    It\’s all greek to me!!!  🙂

  5. Karla says:

    I thought I had a lot of shoes but it is possible that you have more. I may have to count when I come visit.

  6. Betsy says:

    Nice.  When I took the GMAT 2 years ago the hardest part was the 8th grade math.  Same thing.  I knew there was a formula but couldn\’t remember it.  I am the worst at geometry!

  7. Sheryl-Ann says:

    Now I got frustrated because all I could remember was that the formula had n-1.  Of that I was sure but I couldn\’t remember where the n-1 went.  Oh well, I will now quiz my doctoral colleagues with that tomorrow (smile).  Math was something I always loved because it came easily to me, just like the different languages.  I hated the science classes because I always got bored during the labs…….they were always scheduled in the afternoons when it was hot and I was hungry as hell and just wanted to go home!
    Hope your day was a good one.  Have a lovely week.

  8. Antonella says:

    Man, you just gave me a headache! I remember trying to figure out the formula for this very problem! Thank GOD I don\’t have to do that kind of stuff anymore!!!
    20 minute commute?!?!? You are SOOOOOOO lucky!

  9. Sue says:

    Whoa!  That was a wake up, eh?  Good start already.  I hated math.  Still don\’t get it.  Need the calculator or Blondie. 
    Friend from my city eh?  Wel, you are only two years older than DQ and we have lived here on both sides of the town for 20 years, so we could know that person.  Would that not be weird?  The world gets smaller.
    : ) Sue

  10. K says:

    OK.. first things first… lovin yesterday\’s and today\’s shoes… hawt hawt hawt…
    OK… well as a former extremely frustrated math student… it would be even more frustrating when my math teacher would simply take the tone of … WHY DON\’T YOU JUST GET IT? with me and a few other students.  I wish he had had the same experience you had… might have been a good lesson in humility for him.
    This experience will only make you a better teacher…. and somehow, I am of firm belief… you are already a pretty damn amazing one to start with.
    Ciao bella,

  11. Unknown says:

    Well, like I\’ve been told a few times, the best way to learn something is to teach it, and the best way to teach something is to learn it yourself.One tip on teaching math…there is one thing that four out of the six math teachers I\’ve had from middle school onward did to me. Please do not throw markers/erasers/shoes at unruly children. More often than not, either, A: Your aim is bad, B: Good students are sitting next to the unruly students, or C: Both.Josh "The Ender"

  12. CJ says:

    Math was never my forte.  Thank heavens for calculators!

  13. Unknown says:

    I can\’t imagine what your closet looks like. Do you ever wear the same thing twice? lol. I need you to come with me so I can go shopping and improve my closet. With holidays fast approaching it would be nice if I felt like I looked nice. My wardrobe is, in my opinion, depressing.  I am horrible at picking things out. I need a stylist, lol want the job!!!!
    I hate math class, I understood what was going on and could do the work but it never seemed to fit into my life. Even though the teacher always said you will use this stuff everyday! Once I got into college and the math actually applied to my degree and I had to use it to string a scene for class, I finally understood what my teachers were talking about.

  14. Jo says:

    Okay, now I am really leary about starting classes in the fall. I get frustrated now and I\’ve been out of school for 19 years. If you, a teacher, forget this stuff, I am going to feel like a COMPLETE moron!
    Bonus track: Glad you being the person you are, are taking a different class and realizing you can get frustrated and also put yourself into the shoes of your students!

  15. Dennis says:

    Hey!  No fair giving the answer away.  You should have let us submit it in our comments.  And speaking of forgetting things……… There is NO way I am going to forget how good you look in these black and white photos.  I always knew you were a looker but I had no idea it was this good!  I love the poses and the dog.
    P.S. Did you miss me?

  16. Jennifer says:

    that seriously made my head hurt so badly i had to stare at the shoes until the pain subsided.

  17. Nadine says:

    Oh Now I am in love…….you are a Math Geek!!
    Those are the cutest shoes!! and I like the blues….too bad they are plaid…I need a cutesy pair for my new blue floral dress.

  18. Alicia says:

    I almost failed Algebra I for 3 STRAIGHT years…so you could not have even gotten me to SIT in that classroom!!
    HUGS!!  🙂
    P.S. Thanks for the vote!!

  19. Gracia says:

    Ahhhghhh…Math!!!!   I shudder.
    Me thinks me shall leave the classroom now….

  20. Nooner™ says:

    Hi SweetStuff,
    I\’m dispensiing with the usual "Hi KM" formality BS because I\’m rushed this week .. lol.
    I\’m traveling up and down the east coast this week with my little brother.
    http://KagReport.com was indeed the right place to vote for my spaces site.
    Thanks Mucho-Mucho for voting for me!
    I added a paragraph to my last blog to thank you for nominating me!!
    Will write again when I\’m a bit more settled.. heading to Philadelphia shortly by car .. long drive.
    Then going to DC tomorrow for a couple days .. then back to Philly .. then back home to Conn this weekend perhaps.
    Your friend from afar,

  21. Unknown says:

    Oooh…..Math is SO NOT easy for me!  My mind would have shut down just trying to calculate the whole grains of rice thingy!!

  22. Wahzat says:

    Ok that was educational. I couldn\’t ever come up with that answer, but hey it was fun to read about it. I always thought Math was interesting but I never ever did very good at it.
    Hope youare havinga good day.

  23. Becca says:

    I was about to ask my geekified husband who knows all the answers until I saw that you posted the answer! I would never have figured it out. Not in a million years. I am lucky to balance my check book!

  24. Gina says:

    Ugh, that is frustration.  Math was so frustrating for me.  It was the thorn in my side for many, many years.  What is it about math that does that to people.

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