Roots – Exponents and Culture

This is part of the Five Minute Friday series.

Really? Today’s prompt is “Roots.”

You can’t get a better writing prompt for a math blog if you pushed really hard!

So what is a root? And what does it mean to have many roots?

A root is the opposite (the inverse) of a power or exponent. When you raise something to the power of 2 (or square it), you’re using the exponent 2. If you want to undo this, you take the square root.

When we do this for roots of larger numbers, it gets much more entertaining. Like the 4th root.

Raise 3 to the 4th power… you get 81 (which is 3*3*3*3). So when you take the 4th root of 81, you get back 3.

That’s not the intent of the prompt, though…

Indeed the FiveMintueFriday prompt wasn’t meant for math. So let’s consider the other “roots” in math. What are your math roots? What kind of math roots are you establishing for your children?

Do you have positive math roots? Do you say happy and positive things about math when it’s mentioned. Do you make a point to point out where you do math daily (like setting your alarm clock)?

If you do, you’re establishing some very good math roots for your children.

Learn more about the here…

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4 Responses to Roots – Exponents and Culture

  1. I liked the question about how I speak about math. I am scared of math! I’m really not very good at it. I think it’s serendipitous that your blog ended up being the one before mine. We are a homeschooling family and my oldest started Pre-Algebra this year. Looking forward to perusing this sight!

    • Thanks, Jhona! You’ll do just fine – especially as you work through your own fear. I look forward to what you think about some of the articles – especially about fear, anxiety and parental influence.

      Incidentally, I’m working privately with a homeschool teen on her high school math classes (Algebra I, II and Geometry) and we’re taking an interesting route. She’s one year away from graduation and is quite frustrated with math. So we’re stepping back a bit and learning algebra the way it all started, by looking at arithmetic. We’ll be able to do all of Algebra I and II this year and get in enough thinking that Geometry should be do-able in a month or two after that’s done.

      I’ll be writing about our experiences. We’re using the book Basic College Mathematics and one of her first assignments was to do the problems (29-90 in section 1.8, if I remember correctly) and get two different answers! It’s an order of operations problem set but I wanted to allow her to experiment with some of the many options we, as early mathematicians, had before we decided on what order to all agree on.

      She was so excited to be able to do some math her way – we’ll see next week how it goes!

  2. No way! Never even thought about roots and exponents when I saw the prompt at Lisa-Jo’s! Love what you’ve done with this. You MUST be a homeschooler 😉

    • Thanks, Tresta! K8 is only three, so we’ve not yet officially decided what we’ll do with her during the days when she’s “of age.” I was the die-hard homeschool vote until I realized that it’s about her, not me. I loved school – and I went to a very small public school that worked well for me. So if she’s a school lover too, then why not allow her to go? Regardless, they’ll be tons of homeschooling going on – even if she’s at an institution during the day.

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