Correct Math Operations: Putting the Cart before the Horse

Are your children putting the cart before the horse? If so, I can help them to understand the importance of following the correct order of math operations.

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Have you ever heard the expression “putting the cart before the horse”? No? Then, let me explain what it implies and how it can be related to algebra, geometry, calculus, and even trig.

The proper way, if using a horse, to get a large cart or wagon to move from point A to point B is to hitch the animal in front of it and have him pull it. If you were to place the cart in front of the horse, the horse would not, ordinarily, push it with his head. Therefore, the cart will go nowhere on level ground. Similarly, there is an order of operation in math that one must follow to get the desired results. Many bad results and unfortunate circumstances occur in our lives because we unwittingly or thoughtlessly “put the cart before the horse” when it comes to math operations.

If you were dressing for school or work, would you put on your shoes before putting on your socks? Of course you wouldn’t. However, if you did, and if you walked on them, you could expect at the end of the day to return home with dirty, torn, and ragged socks.

Geometry is a function of math and it has even been said that God geometrizes. There is a natural order that manifests itself in the world around us. When we proceed to accomplish any particular task and we fail to follow the proper “order of operations”, whether in ignorance or with malice of forethought, the outcome can be pretty messy, this includes math operations.

I have learned these lessons from many years of experience and I have, as a math tutor, an uncanny ability to pass on this valuable knowledge and wisdom to my students. Find out how I can help your child to achieve success in school and ultimately in life through my online tutoring classes. Metaphorically, your child will return home with tidy and un-torn socks at the end of the day.

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