Mathematical Autobiography Essay

Math Autobiography

Fox Trot 9


Though math has never held an honored place in my heart, I now see how far its bounds extend throughout our lives. Thinking back on those hazy, lazy days of earliest childhood, I remember, back when I was two, the first time I ever laid eyes on a giant popsicle my parents gave me. It was to my liking, and I associated big things with tasty things, till I tasted a tire, which I mistook for a giant chocolate donut.

But such curiosity was not to last. In fact, in elementary school, I developed a sore hatred of math, though not initially. I hated school in general, except for recess, P.E. and Art. In these early grades, the curriculum was simple, just the way I liked it. Addition and Subtraction problems were no-brainers. Multiplying, though it did require memory skills, sunk in with me fairly well. Thus, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions were easy. But the only thing I dreaded was long division. This is what sparked my hatred of math. It looked complex; it was complex. It required the mastery of addition and multiplication. It required patience, which I had little of. It was hideously long. In a word, it was hell. Of course, this was due to my ignorance of rounded off decimal places.

As I grew taller, so did I ascend to middle school. Gone were the carefree joys of recess and free time. Even P.E. lost its carefree way. At this time, I reviewed and honed old math skills, and learned newer, weightier ones. One of them was exponents. It seemed simple, but beckoned from me new ways of thinking old ideas. For instance, any number squared is multiplied by that number. It was hard for me to grasp. I repeatedly multiplied the small two with the bigger base number, which I paid for through my grades. It was even worse with cubed exponents. Still, middle school was the turning point for me and math, a turn for the better. The many formulas, including, Perimeter, Diameter, Area, Volume and Pythagorean Theorem, Y-intercept, and the like, I found to have many applications outside the classroom. I was amazed by the scope of their uses. They opened my eyes to fields of thought and sight unthought and unseen before. Such new insights sparked the curiosity of early childhood.

So, onward to high school, where I learned even higher modes of thought, requiring more effort to grasp. For a little while longer P.E. stayed with me, as was my curiosity in math. But as the math problems got more intricate, and tests became more pressured, I started cracking beneath their weight. Variables within the numerators and denominators of fractions vexed me. Ever-growing steps to longer equations worried me. Additional variables to those equations disturbed me. Translating encoded written sentences into those cryptic equations out-right frightened me. And as I entered the world of pre-college physics, translating, hypothesizing, experimenting, inscribing and interpreting real-world complicated data into simplified results through more cryptic equations gave me nightmares. Still, this crucible of problem-solving didn't go without its rewards. Kites were built in labs and flown, ball bearings rolled through tubes of PVC, eggs dropped in cases of straw on the pavement, hot plate burners used and abused, and untied balloons zipping all over the place.

Then in college came the many horrors of Math 126, as I revisited the problems of Algebra II at greater depth and at break-neck speed. Graphs of even and odd polynomials, from simple Degree 0 to Degree 5 and beyond, their maximums and minimums, their zeros and multiplicities, terrified me. Long division of polynomials, not much better. Short division of the same proved soothing. Complex numbers intimidating but manageable. But the Fundamental Theoram of Algebra and Descates' Rule of Signs was the sum of all my fears, finding the multiplicities of zeros and whether they were positive and negative. Oh! It was like tracking the movements of a fugitive, always one step behind. Then more graphs came, starting with rational functions, then exponential functions, then logarithmic functions! I cannot express the sick horror of looking at an exponential or logarithmic equation, knowing I must solve it without losing my sanity. Then came substitution and elimination of systems of two or more equations. Then the matrix got me, enslaving me to its identities and many operations. I valiantly resisted all I could but was finished off by determinants and the immortal Crammer's Rule.

Thus changed forever, I now delve further into the abyss of sine and cosine, cosecant and secant, tangent and cotangent, and all of their ghastly properties and applications. Math gods, help me!


(The End...)


A/N: Believe it or not, I actually had to do this as a real 'Math' assignment, can you believe that? I turned this paper in yesterday as part of my midterm grade. I know that sounds crazy, but it's true! But the teacher was still cool. ( ^_^ ) Anyway, have a heart and review; I want to know what you guys think. And be freaking honest, please!

I consider mathematics as a very important tool in life. My first real memories with mathematics began in my elementary years. I use to bring home assignments of several pages in order to master the basic arithmetic principles. I would go over my textbook answering several pages that included addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. What a truly memorable experiences they were and still was very rewarding especially when I got the correct answers. Other than that, I could compete with my classmates in how fast we can solve the problems.

From my elementary years, mathematics became more demanding when I became a high school student. It was quite a transition period as much as I can recall. Mathematics that was taught to us became more complex and was somehow much more difficult than what I was doing in primary school. High school math was presented as something straight forward. Our teachers during that time presented examples in class and gave the homework without further explanation. I knew I had to work hard and concentrate in order to get decent grades. The problems involved a lot of time and analyzing equations. It was both difficult but fun. When I got the chance to adopt on the new concepts, I easily adjusted and was happy to get decent grades.

For me, Geometry seemed to be the most difficult at that time. It involved a lot of consideration with the principles of Pythagoras. Ever since then, I came to appreciate the importance of its relationship with regards other subject areas and its corresponding practical applications. I felt comfortable when Algebra was the focus of attention in class. I felt that I was able to absorb the lessons quite well and more easily than my class mates. I took this opportunity to help others who had problems with home works and assignments. I must admit that I may not know much more that what my classmates knew, but I had the proficiency to communicate what has to be done and at the same time get the desired results. These experiences made me more adept and a lover of mathematics in theory and practical aspect.

The importance of mathematics can never be undermined. I believe that mathematics is the language of the whole universe. Actually, it is a language of its own. The world will not be complete without mathematics because we would have no buildings, no roads, no electricity, no science, and no sports. A German mathematician by the name of Carl Friedrich Gauss referred to mathematics as “the Queen of the Sciences.” All other sciences without mathematics would not be able to function. As such, if one does not have a clear understanding of mathematics, then the other sciences to comprehend and appreciate.

There are no other extracurricular activities that will compare and offer that kind of intellectual stimulation which the field of mathematics offers. Students who indulge with the study of advance mathematics will offer high school students the opportunity to enter and pursue college education. It is in this line that students to earn a degree to work for a college credit for learning about the subjects they want to enroll enjoy.

The best learning style utilized in view of mathematics is hands on experience; inasmuch as mathematics is both divided into pure and applied applications. The former speaks about the study of math for its own sake. The latter is the study of math for the very purpose of solving real problems. This is the best way to explain math in actual terms. It spans topics from problems that pertain to engineering, science, technology, and commerce. This can be more exposed when it is applied in the use for making computers, predicting earthquakes, explaining how the economy works, or understanding the functions of the human body, among many other things. In short, math is used in almost every kind of study in the world.

Reference

Sanchez, James (2006). Mathematics in the Contemporary Times.

Chicago: Salesius Publishing

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