Saturday, April 17, 2010

The New Math

My business is in the finance field so naturally I was keen to assist my daughter with her grade four math homework.

“OK Dad, we’re doing Geometry now. I know you said you are good at math, but I’m not so sure after seeing you work out the tip at the restaurant tonight. You either can’t do math or you’re really cheap. Let’s do a quick review before you help me. So! What do you call any multi-sided shape?”

“Er, Polyfilla? Polly wanna? Polly something.”

“Polygon, Dad. What is a shape where all four sides are the same length but it is not a square?”

“A Rhambo!” I said.

“Rhombus – close enough. Next, what is a triangle called when all its sides are the same length?”

“An isolated triangle.” I answered.

“Isosceles Dad. Sheesh. This could take a while. What about one where all three sides are of equal length?”

“That’s your equatorial triangle,” I said. This was a piece of cake, I thought.

“Ten sided shape?”


“Eight sides?”


“Six sided shape?”

“Hexorrhoid or hexoplast or something. Phisohex. Hex something. I’m a little rusty on those.”

“Hexagon Dad. It’s a stop sign.”

“I knew that,” I said.

“Five sides? You should know this – you like military stuff.”

“Five sides… Five sides. Military. Hmmm. Sherman tank? Wait! Pentathlon!”

“Are you sure you don’t want to help me in glee club or gym or something Dad?

“I can get this – trust me,” I said. “All I need is a little review time. How about some Al Jazeera – I used to be good at that.”

“It’s called Algebra now Dad. Did they have Algebra back in the old days when you were in school?”

“Don’t be lippy, kid, of course they did. I’m pretty sure us old guys invented it. I remember it well. I used to copy off the smart kid in front of me…”

“DAD!! Cheating is so wrong! Don’t ever do that again – you’re supposed to be setting an example for me! OK now, pay attention! Here’s some algebra. 5 minus (x + 2) = 5x. Solve for ‘x’,” my daughter said.

“I said algebra, not nuclear physics. Give me an easy one.”

“It’s the first problem in the algebra text book.”

“Oh. Wait! I think I hear your mother calling you. Must be bed time. Goodnight!”

“It’s only seven o’clock Dad. By the way, I worked out the new mortgage financing on our house and I think you’ve blown it again. Historically, a variable rate mortgage will save you a considerable amount of interest, so you really shouldn’t have locked into a 5 year term.”

“Thanks dear, that’s very interesting. Run along now…” I said, shoving her out the door.

“And your dividend re-investment plan is not beating the S&P 500 like you said it would Dad!” she called over her shoulder. “You’ve got to diversify your portfolio like I told you!!”

“Thank you sweetheart! Go play in traffic! Don’t forget your helmet! Bye bye!”

I’m going to get a computer for that kid. Good trade I figure.

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