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The Wisdom of Earl


H3 was enjoying meeting up with Earl in Montana. Montana is Big Sky country and Earl has a big heart for helping students with their math – which is the subject we naturally focused on after a while (there was hay to feed to the horses and some garden crops to pick first). I mentioned to Earl that many students ask why they have to do difficult topics in math, such as Algebra.
Earl looked out across the distant peaks and pure math wisdom flowed from his lips. “Well, ya know, I ask my students whether they want to make their own career choices, or have someone else decide for them. Most want to be in charge of their own destiny and make their own career pathways. So, I tell them that Algebra (or some other learning challenge) must be conquered first. It is just a small step to getting to make their own choices for the future.

How true! Now, if I can just persuade Earl to write a book of his remarkable career – one that was made possible thanks to him jumping over a few learning hurdles too!

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NCEA Level 2 Algebra Problem. Using the information given, the shaded area = 9, that is:
y(y-8) = 9 –> y.y – 8y – 9 =0
–> (y-9)(y+1) = 0, therefore y = 9 (can’t have a distance of – 1 for the other solution for y)
Using the top and bottom of the rectangle,
x = (y-8)(y+2) = (9-8)(9+2) = 11
but, the left side = (x-4) = 11-4 = 7, but rhs = y+? = 9+?, which is greater than the value of the opp. side??
[I think that the left had side was a mistake and should have read (x+4)?]

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