edu180atl: julia simmons 1.20.12
I was sitting in math class learning about variables and rational numbers when my teacher, Mrs. Story, began to talk to us about how to algebraically solve for a variable. At first, I thought I knew how she was going to teach this, but it turned out I was wrong. Earlier that week, my dad had explained to me how to solve these equations in a completely different way from how Mrs. Story taught them. My dad had showed me the long way, but Mrs. Story showed me a useful shortcut. Although my dad’s way took longer, it was more reliable than the shortcut.
I thought about that very carefully, and then it hit me.
I have always heard multiple interpretations on how to solve math problems, but something about this occasion made me think…
I began to think that there might be other problems that can be solved multiple ways. Maybe difficulties or challenges in life can be overcome using multiple methods. When people run into a problem in life, usually, the first solution they think of they use. It might not always work. Perhaps if they thought a little bit longer, they could think of a better and more efficient resolution.
People always teach to choose between right and wrong. I have noticed that choosing between right and wrong is not the problem for most people. Most people can tell the difference.
But maybe it’s more than just that. Maybe it’s that there is more than one solution to a problem. Both of them could be correct, but one might take more effort than the other. It’s not always natural to back away from the easy choice, but sometimes the more difficult way is what’s necessary.
So today I learned not only that there are multiple ways to solve a problem — related to or not related to math — but that there can be two choices: the easy way or the right way. Although the right way might be more difficult, it will often be more effective than the easy way. The challenge in life is to figure out the best solution.
About the Author: A violinist and a lacrosse player, Julia Simmons is enthusiastic about learning. She is a sixth grader at Trinity School who has always wanted a dog.