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Math and Me

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I enjoy when members pull together to lift others up, learning these days is a challenge and could be difficult and defeating.

I won't go into detail, but I've suffered brain related injuries. However, the "Mind" and "Body" is truly an amazing machine.

I was able to go to college at age twenty but, it only provided the basics in a "Technical College" so I adapted by learning formulas needed related to problems, not to learn Math in general.

Now, I work and attend classes at Univeristy. My hope is continuing my education which began at age 57 now 59, I'm 2 years in on a 4 year task.

Refusal to give up, even when those who stab at me with steal minds or sharp words. I'm not sure if their is "Hell" allotted to them, but to me those words of doubt or from their selfish amusement, strengthen my resolve. Regardless of how they wish to measure me.

I've taken some profetic words from a 101 year old women a professor I met, who bore 7 children all completing higher education, becoming doctors, lawyers, professors etc.

At age 26 I asked, what can I do to maintain my mind when I get older.

Her answer was: "never stop learning something new. Stay fit, stay busy" She also said, some not all people without disease retire and sit in front of a television and fail to stimulate their minds which can lead to early deterioration.

Mike, I have followed your health related issues and have seen your determination. I applaud your courage to speak out, especially those of us who need the encouragement.

I struggle with maths as well, its often found in highly creative types. The other big problem is maths is considered logical except if your a logical/linear thinker (if your dyslexic then you will be) maths is a long way from logical. There is a few simple things to learn and remember that can make maths easier when starting out.

As an example of the logical/linear thinking consider this

Now some who struggle with maths and dyslexics will say 4 citing that the problem is simply 2+2
Others who think maths will say 2A is actually 2X2 because no sign implies multiplication (yes way over simplifying and bad example, but lets keep it dead simple), so both get the answer right but only one has done it correctly.

To a logical thinker if your multiplying then there should be a X sign, to maths types the fact there is no maths signs means its multiplication and this isnt logical. I have a book called fast maths, it teaches some neat tricks and has improved mine, dont feel so bad about lack of maths skills especially if dyslexic, what you lack in maths I can guarantee you have a much more useful gift ;). Generally creative thinkers problem solve faster and dyslexics think in 3D unlike most people that see and think in there mind in 2D. The concept of thinking in 3D will make no sense to people who cant do it, but many top architects are dyslexic, they have an edge because the can look at a plan and in there mind visualize the complete thing in 3D and move around it.

I think someone here has a family member who deals alot with kids that are badly dyslexic, they might be able to explain this better than me. I can only say that being dyslexic is both a struggle and a blessing at the same time, I have also never met a dyslexic who wasnt very gifted in some other area.

The maths thing Mike just needs a bit of work, there are a few rules that will make no sense but the trick is to memorize them and then apply them while holding back your natural instinct to do it your way.
The other problem with maths is it uses stuff like Theta............ and other strangely named stuff, so you might get a equation full of letters then a few lines saying A = speed D= weight blah blah blah, to a logical thinker you think............W the F just not put speed in words instead of an A then have to explain on the page what A is anyway!

So when people say maths is pure logic they mean its logic for people without the gift of thinking, sorry to those I just offended by the way but you maths types are inferior to us super thinkers and while I feel sorry for you, your just gonna have to live with it! Mike and I are gifted in other areas and considering our gifts cant be replicated by machine and your gift at maths can easilly be done with a $4 calculator who do you think is better off?

Seriously though Mike I have alot of Maths I need to get on top off, so if you like your welcome to come along on the journey, just pm me and I will pass on any resources that I find help me, then we will be fully gifted :D
Believe it or not, I found out that my "school problems" were do to memorization. geometry and Calculus were memorization. So, it turns out that memory is visual, verbal and Kinesthetic (repetition or how you learn to ride a bike).

Once I figured that out, I got a 4.0 GPA.

One of the bigger issues was you had to recall the formulas from memory because there was no time to derive them. I needed to be able to do the problems without the book in front of me.

Taking Math from the University's Continuing Education program was a LOT better. Less theory. More hand on because it was taught by an engineer.


One of the percentage formulas.

x% of Y is z
is basically X/100 = z/Y

of Y is the denominator.
In the 60's I was diagnosed by a doctor as having hyperactivity (Now called ADHD), they gave me medications (Ritalin) for it as I was acting out in school (3rd grade).
Psychotropic drugs for someone not yet into puberty - doctor should be (something professionally equivalent to) shot.

The first thing is there is absolutely nothing wrong with your brain
The first thing is, no two brains are wired the same.

Back in another life I worked with a Cognitive Psychology research area full of brain science wizards. Learned a lot of things, many of which we now have imaging confirmation of thanks to FMRI. While "wrong" is just plain wrong, there is a significant chance that your brain just can't do math. More technically, there are underdeveloped cognitive pathways between blah blah and yaddi yaddi areas of the brain. So what? It's the same reason I *can* do math in my head, but can't read sheet music. Beyond training and experience, there is a connection/translation/whatever that I just can't make. OTOH a long-time friend is a piano and voice coach who has a college degree and reads orchestral score like we read schematics, but can't figure the tip at a restaurant. Again, characterizing this as something "wrong" is both psychologically and physiologically...incorrect.

Another good friend is a long-time grade school math/science teacher in rural Georgia. She presents each concept verbally, visually, and tactiley (sp), both because it now is recommended teaching practice, and because she knows it works.

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I'm lucky as I've always found maths to be fairly easy. I recently watched a video course called "TTC Video - Secrets of Mental Math" which starts with a simple way to learn the times tables and then goes on to teach all the ways to do maths in your head.


Hey, Mike. Post the URL just for kicks.

Again, characterizing this as something "wrong" is both psychologically and physiologically incorrect.

In other words, simply wrong. No pun intended.

My two eldest gran-daughters when starting first grade, were found with serious difficulties to read (and consequently, to write).

I still recall my personal experience with them (not frequent, have to admit) where they found themselves reading to me in an informal situation after I gave them two nice books of stories for children. Something told me that they needed a different (personalized?) approach. In the long time, it worked for both. And the problem is not that anymore.

I realized that for any level of maths (the ones I understand, at least) the way you manage to comprehend the different concepts / abstractions even the basic (or not so) operations, is very personal. Teachers should support that instead of forcing a unique way of reasoning (usually theirs).
I remember when I was at Junior school - must have been about 8, the whole class could recite the times tables, it seemed, except me. I had a kind and patient teacher who had me stand by his desk one breaktime, and got me to recite the whole thing, one table at a time by going through each one in turn with me then getting me to recite it. I was so pleased! Soon afterwards I had forgotten the whole thing again, never learnt them since.
So I get by with the easy ones, x2, x5, x10 and x11, if I have to do a multiplication in my head I break it down into something I can work out in those and add the results together.
When I got to college age, they let me do the City & Guilds 224 course, but not the HNC / HND because my maths wasn't good enough.
What I've discovered in adult life is that I can do maths, but can't remember the procedures for how to do things, so first I have to look those up. Thank goodness for the internet, on that count. After a while I forget again then have to look it up again the next time. I don't know if it's because I'm dyslexic, or something else. Sometimes I look something up because it's interesting, like logarithms. I understand the "what", but the "how" is always new.
Never did calculus. Always wanted to. Anything beyond Δsomthing over Δsomething is beyond me. When I see the long tall S symbol or the big sigma it might as well be martian. I started trying to do a free online course but got lost very quickly.
So anyways Mike, maybe your brain is like mine :)
Your experience with times tables at school is exactly the same as mine and, even now 64 years later, I don't know any times tables by rote, but I could recite then by calculating each value if necessary. Although I was bottom of the class for times tables, I was top of the class for understanding and applying maths, whereas the times table stars didn't have a clue.

Much of the problem with learning and understanding calculus and the like, is poor teaching. That was certainly my experience. Just like electronics, I understood much more by working with practicing engineers, mathematicians, and scientists, than from many academics- some were excellent though.

You say you don't remember certain things- that is because they don't form an image in your brain, basically because they don't interest you. I an pretty sure that if someone offered you £1m UK to learn the times table by rote, you would find that your memory had greatly improved.:joyful:

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LOL :D I would certainly find a way of remembering them!
I tend to remember things I understand, and with lists of things (which the times tables is, really, one big list) there's nothing to understand beyond the fact of multiplication, it's just pure memory.
No ever taught me calculus though, and every time I've got round to reading about it, the starting point assumes a knowledge level I don't have (and usually US school based) at which point I give up. Call me a quitter whydontcha ;)
Your comments about how you learn- things you understand- and your experiences relate to many engineering types, and suggest a couple more topics for the, 'Is There an Engineering Type' thread. Once you get past the basics of maths it can get very heavy and the depth is endless. Even mathematicians have limits, just like anybody. You say that you haven't got the hang of calculus, well a day with a practical mathematician would sort that; in fact, I used know just the chap. He was an excellent mathematician and, most importantly, knew how to correctly apply maths to a practical situation, a failing in many mathematicians. Funnily enough he always said, 'I wish I knew more about ...'

The other thing is that the notation, deltas, integration, summation, etc look daunting but they are not difficult to understand (by the way, I am no calculus guru). There are two other points: you have been using differentiation and integration in your circuits and your maths comprehension will be way ahead of the average man in the street .

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Mmm, know what you mean. I just have to get round my mental u-bend...
Next term our class was moving on to algebra. There is always some wise doom mongers and they said. 'Hell, algebra is really difficult- you have to add up and subtract letters not numbers' This greatly confused and worried me because maths was fundamentally important to my intended career as a chemist or engineer of some sort and I simply could not figure how letters could be treated as numbers.

In the first lesson, the teacher stuck a formula on the blackboard and showed how the letters could be transposed. We were then given a problem: 'If it takes one man four hours to dig a five foot by five foot by three foot deep hole, how long would it take ten men to dig the same hole'.

Apart from the previous confusion about the letters, this really threw me because I realized that ten men would not be able to work on the hole at the same time because they would be on top of one another. As a result, I thought there was some magic about algebra that I would never be able to understand.

It took me a month to get what algebra was all about. ie the letters were just place holders for normal numbers. In fact, I had been effectively using algebra before the lesson. As for the hole digging question, I found that efficiency was ignored.

This is just one example of how badly subjects are taught sometimes.

It is also illuminating that most of the kids who got the answer to the hole digging question right, completely failed to understand algebra as the class progressed.

On the other hand, a couple of kids sailed through algebra with no effort, but they had parents who were technical and they probably had some home tuition, or algebra was in their genes.

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Previously, I had a working knowledge of simple programs like BASIC and assembler and when 'C' became widely used at work, I got an introduction to it from a great little book. The preface showed a short C program. The author said that after reading his book and doing the exercises, you will be able to understand this program. To me the program looked like complete gobbledygook, and never mind how much I tried I could not make head nor tail of it, and I knew that I never would be able too, book or no book.

But after reading the book, and doing some of the exercises, the arcane introductory program was simplicity itself- it just inputed two variables and printed their product to the console.

This illustrates how you can kid yourself that you will never be able to do something.
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Psychotropic drugs for someone not yet into puberty - doctor should be (something professionally equivalent to) shot.


What do you mean by psychotropic drug?

Ritalin is a psychotropic drug, but not an anti-depressant nor an anti-psychotic drug. It is a stimulant, commonly used for children with ADHD. It is used to increase blood flow and hence oxygen to the brain, but does not otherwise affect brain chemistry.
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