Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The REAL Reason They are Pushing Math These Days

It's a well known fact, I'm not a mathematician. I can barely spell the word, let alone be a practioner of the science. For me, my disinterest in math had nothing to do with not wanting to excel or even lack of ability. When I applied myself to math, I did ok. The truth: I thought math was boring. How dull is it for 25 people to work the same problem and all end up with the same answer, following the same exact steps? BORING!

Now there is a big push to encourage girls to excel at math. There are all sorts of incentives for girls to take more math and science classes, and not a day goes by when I don't see a news story about some out reach program to encourage girls in math and science related fields. After nearly four years of motherhood, I'm convinced this whole focus on getting more girls into math has nothing to do with a gender imbalance in the nation's top labs. These girls will grow into women, who may become mothers and I swear motherhood is just one God awful word problem after another.

Take this common example: Mom is packing a diaper bag for an 8 hour outing. Her baby typically needs a diaper change once every 3 hours. However, her baby just finished drinking 4 ounces of apple juice, which frequently gives her baby the runs two after completion of the bottle and those runs, when they happen, last for 4 hours and take 4 diapers. How many diapers should the mother pack?

Here's another one, a two parter: The four year old needs about 12 hours of sleep in 24 hours, divided between a 10 hour night and a 2 hour nap. If the child has been swimming, then she needs 14 hours of sleep. On Saturday, the child will go to bed at 8pm, get up at 6:30 am, swim for two hours on Sunday morning. How long should she let the child nap? AND what time should the child go to bed to ensure she will be ready for school at 8 am Monday morning? It takes the child 45 minutes to get ready for school. Assume the child's ability to nap is infinite.

My personal favorite, a little precise science: A mom is doing laundry. She has three loads left, and by shake measurement, she guesstimates only 2 cups remain in the detergent container. Each load requires a full cup, but she knows she can fudge that some. Her child is sick and a trip to the store is impossible. Your assignment, fill the first cup with a quantity that will allow the contents of the detergent container to last for all three loads. And remember, those little cups don't have lines to help you out. By the way, if you make a mistake, your sick child is sure to throw up all over themselves, you, and their bedding requiring another load of laundry.

So, I ask you this: Is there a man brave enough to tackle anyone of these common problems? And second, why are they really pushing women towards math and science? I, for one, am not buying the whole gender imbalance argument anymore.


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