We were doing a little algebra yesterday with one of our year five girls. She had been set some homework from school where she was asked to find the length of one of the sides of a square. The given area was 64 centimetres squared. There were a number of ways of approaching the problem. One to write down the formula:
A = b x h.
If the shape was a square, one side needed to be the square root of the area.
The girl picked it up very quickly. Naturally the temptation was to help the girl to do all her homework. I was reminded of Fran Lebowitz’s remark:
Stand firm in your refusal to remain conscious during algebra. In real life there is no such thing as algebra.