Algebra and Statistics Resources

While browsing the Internet today, I came across some fascinating videos that connected upper-level math concepts with real-life applications in an engaging, easy-to-understand way. The videos explore such varied examples as making fireworks and oil production–along with MUCH more!

The series are secular series, and I do not agree with some of the examples chosen and ideas presented in the videos, but they do contain very clear, helpful examples of math in action if you discern through some of the conclusions. It might be wise to discuss them together with your students afterward, and explore together what the Bible says about the various topics (the environment, health, etc.)

If you’re interested in the videos, I would suggest watching them soon, as the site dropped another video series on math they used to have, and purchasing the DVDs are VERY expensive. I think they rotate the content periodically.

Anyway, here are the links!

Algebra in Simplest Terms
Against All Odds: Inside Statistics

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Bridge-Building Resources (All Grades)

In my previous post on shapes, we briefly talked about how learning shapes doesn’t have to be confined to a textbook–how shapes help us understand and appreciate the shapes God placed around us.

Understanding how shapes respond to pressure–as well as lots of other math concepts–plays an important role in building bridges. Here are two bridge-building resources you could use with your children as a way to teach them to use math as a God-given, real-life tool.

Golden Gate Bridge – This section of the Golden Gate Bridge site offers lots of useful bridge-making links. There are links you could use with younger children, as well as ones for high schoolers.

Build a Bridge – While this interactive page doesn’t get into much of the math behind building bridges, it gives students an opportunity to explore the properties of different bridge designs and determine which design would be best suited for various situations.

Resource Week – Free Practical Math Lessons

It’s resource week!

SCORE Mathematics Lessons – Check this site for some free, practical lesson ideas for grades K-12. Many of these lessons offer ideas on how to have children apply math for a specific real-life project, such as planning a trip or buying a car. Although written for a classroom setting, most of the lessons could easily be adapted to the home. It’s a site you may wish to bookmark and consult when you’re not sure how a specific concept serves as a useful tool or need an idea on how to actually have your child apply a concept. Please use your own discernment, as many of the lessons include Internet usage.

REMINDER! Next week is request week. Does anyone have a specific concept or question you’d like discussed?

The Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio – A Wonder of God’s Creation

Above is a link to a blog post one of the members of our church posted a few months back–I’m excited to be able to share it with you, as it does such a wonderful job sharing with pictures and text about this fascinating ratio. It ends with this fitting reminder:

Man is indeed without excuse, for God has put his signature on all of creation. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” – Romans 1:20.

Free Digitized 1800 and 1900 Math Books

Several months ago, I felt like I’d hit a goldmine when I first discovered Google has digitized and made available for FREE numerous math books from the 1800s and 1900s, including some of my favorite ones I’d found in old collections. Written back before math was viewed as an intellectual pursuit, many of these old books team with practical word problems!

While they’re not for everyone, as the older English wording and time-period illustrations might confuse some children, these historic math books can be quite helpful! If you’re not sure how to show your child how a concept serves as a useful tool, try looking at some of the word problems offered in one of these books. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend reading through all the presentations, as they’re not easy reads, but many of the word problems are gems! A good place to start is the Table of Contents–the books are also searchable if you want to narrow in on a specific concept.

Below are links to a few of Google’s extensive collection. If you search for these books’ authors, you’ll find other books by them as well (you may want to limit your search to “Full view only” to see all those available on the site in their entirety).

Ray’s New Practical Arithmetic
Adam’s New Arithmetic
Stoddard’s Rudiments of Arithmetic

Practical Arithmetic (upper elementary/high school)

Reminder: Request Week – Next week is request week, so please leave a comment with what you’d like us to discuss!

Math Articles and Tips

A few weeks ago, someone shared a link to www.mathworksheetscenter.com in a comment and I wanted to pass it along to you all, as some of the free articles there looked quite helpful. The articles are located at http://www.mathworksheetscenter.com/mathtips.

I especially liked many of the high school articles, as they gave some practical ideas on math’s applications. You could use each suggestion as a launching pad to have your student explore further.

The site also offers thousands of worksheets for a small membership fee. The lessons on the worksheets basically just explain the concept by offering an example problem worked out. A search online reveals other sites with free worksheets; however, if you’re looking for a wide variety of worksheets and don’t want to hunt all around to find them, the membership might be worth it for you. Be sure to view one of the worksheets first to see if the general quality/layout would work for you.

My prayers are with you all as you gear up for a new year of school. May each day be blessed with a deeper appreciation for God’s faithfulness and power.

In Him,

Katherine

New Math Curricula Reviews

I recently reviewed two math resources—Professor B’s Power Mathematics and Maximum Math, and reorganized my math review page to hopefully make it a bit more user friendly. I always hesitate when posting a review because not every resource or curricula works for every person. We all have different learning styles and specific needs. So please keep in mind that it’s not my intent to endorse any specific resource, but rather to describe some of the options so you can better decide what will work for your family.

My prayers are with you all as you make your plans for next year. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, taking our eyes off the Lord and putting them on the many decisions that need made. Remember to let God carry the burden—He delights in leading, guiding, and teaching you each step of the way.

By His Grace,

Katherine

“Biblical Math” May Not Really Mean Biblical

I was recently reminded of the fact that many people use the term “biblical math” to mean something very different than I do when I use it. So I thought it might be beneficial to take a look at some different ways the term has been used.

Many use the term “biblical math” to refer to using math to unlock some sort of hidden code within the Bible. In fact, there have been numerous books written on this topic. Each one claims to have unraveled a mystery within the Bible’s pages.

If you’ve ever been intrigued by any sort of “biblical numerical code,” I’d encourage you to read the article linked to below by James Nickel. I found this article incredibly helpful in understanding why I felt such a caution and uneasiness in my spirit every time I read anything about these hidden codes. Mr. Nickel explains how these “hidden” codes really have Gnostic roots and are a distortion of the gospel of Christ and the Word of God.

http://www.biblicalchristianworldview.net/Mathematical-Circles/behindBibleCode.pdf

Although many people attempt to use these codes to defend the authority of the Bible or to proclaim some other truth, the whole idea of finding some sort of “hidden” revelation is not true and is actually very dangerous. God’s truth is available to all, not just those who can crack a special code. There’s a harmful elitism and mysticism in saying we need some sort of special knowledge to understand part of God’s message to us. God warns that He has hidden things from the wise and revealed them to babes (Luke 10:21). We’re to use the Bible to help us understand math, not use math to unlock the mysteries of the Bible. God has given us His Spirit, note a code, to help us understand His Word.

Other people use the term “biblical math” to refer to a curriculum that contains Bible verses and Christian morals. Yet although the student is being taught a biblical perspective on morality and learning biblical truth, he’s not necessarily being taught how to look at math itself from a biblical perspective.

I would define the term “biblical math” as an approach to math that leaves the student with an understanding of how math itself is viewed from a biblical worldview. The Bible gives us principles that impact the way we view and approach all aspects of life, including math. God is the creator and sustainer of all things and is a consistent, faithful God; hence, we can expect the universe to be consistent. Man is created in the image of God; hence, we’re able to observe the consistent way God governs all things and record that using math. Man is fallen; hence, we are prone to error and cannot place our faith in our own reason. God gave us the responsibility to work and “subdue” the earth; hence, God has given us math as a useful tool to help us with the tasks He has given us.

The above statements are just a few (and are simplified for the sake of space) of the ways the Bible’s principles should impact the way we approach math. When we take these and other principles and build our approach to math off of them, it completely transforms math from a meaningless exercise to something both meaningful and useful—and something that, above all, points us to the Creator (see Beyond Numbers).

I hope the above explorations of “biblical math” help clarify things a little for you. It’s amazing how differently a phrase can be applied, isn’t it? : )

Balancing, Measuring, and Such

A few weeks ago, I visited a local historic home with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. Something I saw there sparked a little research and has resulted in this post : ).

The chandelier hanging in the hall of the historic house was much too high to light easily using a ladder. But men had used the ingenuity God had given them to design a device whereby the chandelier’s candle COULD be easily lit—by just one person.

The chandelier was hung using a long chain, at one end of which was a cylinder that perfectly balanced out the weight of the chandelier. Since the weight balanced, the chandelier didn’t move unless a person pulled or pushed on the chain. By pulling or pushing on the chain, a single person could easily higher or lower the chandelier, light it, and return it to its former position.

As I looked at the chandelier, I realized this was math in action. Whether or not the original designers weighted the chandelier and the cylinder, I don’t know. But I do know that the weights equaled—and that math has been historically used to help design and use counterbalances for a variety of purposes.

[Photo taken at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly, Virginia.]

Merchants used to use a scale based on the counterbalance principle to weigh their products. On one side of the balance, they’d place the item to be weighed. They’d then add items of which the weight was known to the other side until the scale balanced. The whole process required quite a bit of math.

If you’re working on measurement with your child, consider having him or her build a scale! Easy instructions can be found at the website below. As you build it, thank God for creating us capable of designing devices—like balances—to help us.

http://www.campsite24.ca/balance_scale_eng.pdf

Free Workshop Invite, Book Update, Math Information Online

Things have been piling up to post, so this post will contain quite a few different things.

Free Workshop
First off, I wanted to invite you all to attend a workshop this afternoon (Tuesday, March 18, 2008) at 1:00 p.m. CST I’ll be giving on teaching math biblically. You can attend right from your computers–and it’s free! The workshop is being done through Cindy Rushton’s Ultimate Homeschool Expo as one of their free, pre-conference preview chats. The chat will be archived and available after the conference begins to attendees, but it’s only open to everyone this afternoon. To join, follow the instructions at the bottom of this post. (I apologize for the late notice.)

Math Book Update
Next, after several drafts and a name change, my math book is actually nearing completion! The book is now titled Revealing Arithmetic, and serves as a guide for teaching arithmetic concepts from a biblical worldview. Revealing Arithmetic will walk through teaching basic arithmetic concepts from counting clear through long division, offering an overview, example presentation, reinforcement ideas, and much more. Thank you all for your continual prayers.

Math Information Online
We recently posted an article adapted from Beyond Numbers to our site and reorganized some other math information. I hope you enjoy!

I also recently found an article on biblical math online I think you some of you might find helpful. Vern S. Poythress helpful, although more intellectual, essay titled, “A Biblical View of Mathematics” is available online at www.frame-poythress.org/poythress_articles/1976Biblical.htm.

Please Note: I’ve not had a chance to look at any of the other essays on this site or by Poythress to know their merit or theological content. I mention this particular article because it looked helpful.

Instructions for Joining the Workshop (from Cindy Rushton)
We provide the software download-free. Here is the link:

http://www.cindyrushton.com/Conference.exe

Click to begin download or copy/paste into your internet browser and click ENTER. It will only take a few minutes to download into your computer, but you want to do it ahead of time so you don’t miss a minute in the Conference Room. After it is downloaded on your computer, it will set up an icon on your desktop that says CONFERENCE. Then, you will only have to click it to open up the room. Here are your instructions from there:

When you are ready to enter, you will enter your NAME or EMAIL ADDRESS in the first blank.

Add the following information when prompted:

Name of Room: Talk-a-Latte

Password: letschat (for Preview Chats)

Remember…your password is different for chats and other classes. It only works for the room when the room is open for the study.