Slope Intercepted

Today was a particularly frazzling day for every member of The Zone. WineGuy had three different treatments that completely wiped him out. Wizard and Wild Thing had full days of school and meetings afterward. Moose had school, then religious school, had KP duty tonight, and had some difficult homework. Running on less than 5 hours of sleep, I chauffeured everyone to all their appointments and activities and squeezed in a volunteering stint way out in eastern Zone County and a quick lunch with a friend. My car’s trip computer said I spend a total of 4 hours in the car today, driving a total of 105 miles around town. Zzzzz.

One of WG’s staff brought us dinner tonight, so thankfully, I did not have to cook. There were a few dishes and no pans, so Moose’s KP was easy. Of course, he tried to rush through it, like he usually does, and I had to coach him to do it right the first time. Once the suds were down the drain, it was time for Moose to sit down to do homework.

Normally, Moose does not bring any schoolwork home. He does it all in school. However, this week, he had his first Middle School Academic Competition match, and he missed some classes one day. There was no time to complete that work in school, so he brought it home tonight. The first order of business was Algebra. Yes, Moose is taking Algebra 1 in 6th grade. Math is one of his gifts. The conversation went something like this:

Moose:  Mom, how good were you in Algebra?

Me:  Pretty good. How can I help?

Moose:  I’m having trouble with these slope-intercept problems.

Slope Intercept

Me:  Okaaayyyyyyy.

Moose:  You know — y=mx+b?

Me:  ::a la Bill Cosby::  Riiiiight. Let’s read the problem shall we?

I read the problem to Moose, and he interprets it wrong, as he did the first time. I read the problem again emphasizing that it stresses the rate of increase over time. Then, the lightbulb goes off:  Moose understood how to plug in the numerical rate into his slope-intercept equation. Then we parsed out the units of time and the various other points, and he solved the equation. Repeat and repeat and repeat a few times until all the problems were finished. I sat by and watched my brilliant child fly through a concept which baffled him 10 minutes earlier. I marveled at the speed of his computations and how well he showed his work every step of the way. It literally has been years since I’ve helped Moose with his homework, and I am so impressed at his work habits.

Just don’t ask me to solve those stupid slope-intercept problems from a graph.

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