Entertainment Survival Guide to Math

The (seemingly) most hated class within Charles M. Russell High School; math class. Even though I have never counted myself among the countless students that completely loathe the subject, I am finding the class increasingly more difficult, time consuming, and boring. Especially for a class that I don’t necessarily believe teaches you things you use in everyday life (well at least after freshman math). But with this new found distain towards the Pythagorean Theorem that has now led to the unit circle, I am also finding outlets through different forms of entertainment that not only ease the stress, but also puts math on a more ordinary, useful level. In order to express some of these outlets, I created a list of three things I have found helpful throughout this great math adventure.

1. John Green’s “An Abundance of Katherines”

This quirky novel is one of my favorites by John Green, who also wrote the bestselling book, “The Fault in Our Stars”. The plot line follows the child prodigy who has been dumped 19 times, all by different girls named Katherine, Collin Singleton (all puns intended). While on a road trip with his best friend, Hassan, Collin has his eureka moment (basically an epiphany) and creates “The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability”. This theorem, in short, determines the longevity of a relationship. While a lot of math goes into this theorem, the idea is presented in a cute way (there is even an appendix in the back explaining it) that allows the reader to find it more interesting as well as a more useful example of the mathematic equations we trying so hard to produce.

Green (as well as his friend who helped him develop the theorem) even goes as far to explain that there has been some research done on the theorem and while there is no definite link between the durability of a relationship and math, there has been research that suggest you can at least take an educated guess based on math theorems such as these.


2. Blind Pilot’s “Three Rounds and a Sound”

Ok, so this might not be so strictly math related as much as study related.  Most students know their music limitations when it comes to tedious amounts of homework, but to be honest, I didn’t. Most music tended to be too fast, so that it became distracting, or it was too slow, so that I wanted to fall asleep, usually atop mounds of homework.

With Oregon natives Blind Pilot’s first album however, it was the perfect balance. Having a mostly calm feeling, the album does not allow one to get too hyped up, but the album does have its higher, livelier feels (“One Red Thread” or “The Story I heard”) that keep you from dying of boredom. This album might have been my saving grace when it comes to math, but I mostly love this specific CD because of how simple it is. It is important to realize, though, that my music taste is probably not the same as yours and to find something that works best for your own study habits.



3. 21

Following the bright college student, Ben Campbell (Ben Sturgess), as he struggles to find a way to pay for Harvard Medical School, this story is not only morally interesting as well as mathematically interesting. After Campbell resorts to card counting so that he (along with the rest of his group) can earn money for college, Campbell find himself in all kinds of risky situations. Even though the concept of cheating at blackjack may not be socially accepted (along with the gambling itself), the way that the blackjack team works on a constructive way to use mathematics to win the game is an amazing to watch. Not only did it make my respect for the game to grow, but also showed me a real life controversy with math in the center of it.

Even though I have found ways to make math less boring, math is still probably just as difficult and time consuming. And while it might always be like this for myself, it has gotten a little bit better because now it is so much easier as far as sitting down and doing the homework, and that’s all anybody can really ask for.