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Decimals and fractions are, in almost all ways, interchangeable. Most of the time, you can convert a decimal into a fraction and a fraction into a decimal, but what if you had to choose between the two? What if you could only use fractions and never use a decimal ever again, or vice versa? It’s a difficult question, absolutely, but a choice must be made. For me, the choice is difficult. Fractions are easier to see and visualize, and as a visual learner, incredibly useful. However, decimals are easy to put on a basic number line and there is no need to convert decimals into fractions if fractions don’t exist. Therefore, since fractions have proved redundant, and I can just as easily visualize decimals, I will have to banish fractions from the face of the universe forever, and keep the decimals.
But hey, at least I’m only a grade nine math student and cannot erase something from history forever!
I am not a math person. I do not have a brain made to solve equations, and I have never liked numbers too much. Instead, I am more of a letter-and-word person. I love stories, and I like writing them even more.
Math has never really told me much of a story, until I started Algebra. To solve an algebraic equation, you need to tell a story or you’re going to get a big fat zero on that test you spend a week worrying about. Those little math equations with letters actually made sense for me – finally! Something that clicked! When I started this unit in my grade seven math class, I finally decided maybe, just maybe, I could like math.
Prior to this epiphany, if anybody asked me what my most hated subject was, I would automatically say Math. The numbers confused me and swam around my brain, meaningless and pounding my skull. I could bluff my way through textbooks well enough, I just never figured out why. I didn’t like math because I am a “Why” person, like one of those kids that constantly asks “why” after an answer is given until their victim becomes infuriated. Until I started delving deeper into math equations, I only wanted to know why these equations existed and why I had to do them in a specific way.
I hated math with a passion by the beginning of middle school, but not only because I wasn’t getting any valid answers – I didn’t understand it. Normally, everything I learn in school clicks in my head. It makes sense, and I can easily explain it to someone. But I never had that in math, especially long division. All the different equations I had to do and numbers I had to keep track of simply hurt my head and made me want to burn the worksheet. That is when my grades began to suffer, but soon enough, a teacher explained it to me in a way that finally made sense – with words. He explained the equations with stories and told me that’s how I learned. Since then, I have remembered this. When I struggled with integers, I made a story for each equation involving a man named Bob walking back and forwards.
Math was never a very significant part of my growing up, besides something to despise. But stories always have been, so if a math equation can have a beginning, a middle, and an end, I’ll be okay.