Inverses are the Ctrl-Z of Math

This is Day 24 of 31 Days of Math Learning Success. Follow all the days here and check out others that are writing for 31 days here.

Life may not have an undo button, but many things in math do - we call them inverses!“Why can’t life be menu driven or at least have an ‘undo’ feature?”
~David M. DeFelice

In math, there’s often a Ctrl-Z.

Just about anything you do can be undone.

The fancy math word is “inverse,” and it’s the the foundation of “solve for x” stuff.

And it’s the reason it’s okay to get a little crazy when you try different things in math.

You can add 7 to both sides of an equation then realize that it wasn’t that swell of an idea. So then you can subtract it from both sides.

No harm done.

The same holds with division and multiplication (just be careful of that super freak Zero).

Inverse Graphs and Functions

And then there’s inverse graphs and inverse functions.

They can start to get weird and scary. Unless you look at it from a nitty-gritty viewpoint.

For any inverse graph (or function), the x and y on the points are reversed.

So if (3, 7) is on a graph, then (7, 3) will be on the inverse graph.

Just another undo.

See Inverse, Think Ctrl-Z

So the next time you see the word “inverse,” think to yourself Ctrl-Z. It’s undo.

And you can do it!


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