2/27/2012

Math Is Hard...For Real, Apparently

I suppose there's a short "might be spoilers herein" type warning warranted at the top of this post as I will be talking about last night's episode of The Amazing Race. That said, it's not really going to ruin anything for you - it's not that kind of post.

So, in last night's episode (episode 2) of The Amazing Race season 20, the road block involved math. Not calculus. Not geometry. Not even algebra. It involved long division, without the use of a calculator. Every team but one struggled with this...how is this possible? Do the majority of grown ups out there (because everyone on this show is at least 18, therefore a grownup) not remember how to do long division on a piece of paper? I find this truly odd.

Maybe what's truly odd is the fact that I actually do long division at least once a week - usually because I'm too lazy to go find a calculator. By the time I dig one up, I could have finished the problem on paper - so I just go straight to that. Why do I use long division? I like to know things like miles per gallon when I fill up the car. Or how much each four ounce bottle of mixed formula costs. Or how many 4 ounce bottles a container that makes 164 fluid ounces will make. Or how much each glass of orange juice that gets mostly consumed and then left out for three days and then dumped costs. And so on and so forth. Don't most people wonder about these things? And are you really whipping out a calculator each time you have a question like this?

I'll admit, I can't do division in my head. I struggle with all but the very easiest math in my head - I have to write it down. But given a piece of paper, I can divide with the best of them. Frankly, it was appalling to watch these people struggle to remember how to take the total weight of a group of objects and divide it by the number of objects to get the average weight. (I get that some got wrong answers because they counted wrong, that's understandable, the things were moving around. It was the freaking about about the math that killed me.)

And while we're on the topic, I would like to see the Big Brother team go as soon as possible if only because the girl of the team, after whining about the math (she was the worst), came out with the gem of "I'm just a girl." Well that clears it all up...cause the Math is Hard Barbie wasn't a stereotype, apparently. She ought to turn in her woman card immediately. Honestly, what self-respecting woman would utter the words "I'm just a girl" in any context (except, perhaps, when asked what their gender is or when singing along to a No Doubt song), let alone one having to do with math. You could practically hear the hundreds of impressionable female teens watching the show (and you know they already probably liked her because of Big Brother) go, "Oh, phew, I don't have to learn that pesky long division that I learned in 4th grade. I'm just a girl."

I feel like Phil should pair them all up with an 8 year old for tutoring before letting them head out on the next leg of the race. Honestly, sometimes watching this show makes me cringe at the image of Americans that we're sending out into the world. On the other hand, since every team struggled with the math, I wonder if it's really all that wrong after all.

2 comments:

Lynellen said...

Yeah, I do all that kind of math stuff too, ... but I whip out my iphone, sad to say.

beth said...

Hm - I'm usually too lazy to scroll on my phone to the calculator - there are steps involved! :) Plus mostly I forget that there's one on there.