
Elementary Math Fractions, Percentages, Word Problems, Equations, Inequations, Factorization, Expansion 
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January 6th, 2008, 08:11 PM  #1  
Newbie Joined: Jan 2008 Posts: 9 Thanks: 0  Where should I start?
Hi all. First visit and post! I'm looking for direction more than anything. Here's my story... I'm a programmer. Specifically, I develop web applications (in Ruby, if you were you curious). All the apps I've worked on have been very light on any "real" math. That is, math beyond basic accounting  prices, taxes, discounts, etc. I recently got into game programming and hit a brick wall. Hard. I realized I couldn't do very much at all without running into math. Rotation, acceleration, collision detection, etc. All math. I asked a programmer I respect how much math he suggested one learn to do roughly what he does. He suggested I learn algebra and geometry really well, as those are the primary skills he uses when writing games. So I picked up a geometry book (Geometry, Seeing, Doing, Understanding by Harold R. Jacobs). Lo' and behold, the first chapter beats me over the head with this little bit: Quote:
So my question is this... if a problem from the first chapter of a geometry gives me problems, where should I start?  
January 7th, 2008, 06:55 PM  #2 
Senior Member Joined: Oct 2007 From: Chicago Posts: 1,701 Thanks: 3 
A to K is how many letters? A to F is how many letters? What's the ratio? Does that help? 
January 7th, 2008, 08:19 PM  #3  
Newbie Joined: Jan 2008 Posts: 9 Thanks: 0  Quote:
AK is just a line segment. The distance between each point between A and K is different, so the number of points between A and K won't help me. I did some more research last night and think I shall begin by relearning how to work with fractions and decimals, and then I'll move onto prealgebra. From there I imagine I'll head into algebra and finally make my way back to geometry. Are there any books anyone suggests for prealgebra?  
January 9th, 2008, 03:33 PM  #4  
Global Moderator Joined: Dec 2006 Posts: 19,528 Thanks: 1750  Quote:
I suspect you do know how to add and subtract numbers. You probably know how to multiply and divide them. Even if you do, though, that's not enough. It's no fun having to work out such things, so you have to work through the "no fun" stuff by doing loads of simple arithmetic until most of the answers are automatic, just as understanding this sentence is automatic; you don't have to "work out" how the words combine to give a particular meaning because you get the meaning almost instantly through familiarity with English. You can use a calculator to verify your answers; don't use it instead of working out answers for yourself. Are you ready and willing to give it a go? If not , why not?  
January 9th, 2008, 04:06 PM  #5  
Newbie Joined: Jan 2008 Posts: 9 Thanks: 0  Quote:
Is that accurate? Quote:
Also, I understand that 6 and 12 are easy numbers to deal with. So for the sake of my question, let's assume 12cm represents 13 miles  something not evenly divisible by 2.  
January 9th, 2008, 07:10 PM  #6 
Newbie Joined: Jan 2008 Posts: 9 Thanks: 0 
I stopped by the library earlier and picked up a mediumsized tome: Prealgebra, Third Edition by K. Elayn MartinGay. Toplevel table of contents are... 1. Whole numbers and introduction to algebra 2. Integers 3. Solving equations and problem solving 4. Fractions 5. Decimals 6. Ratio and proportion 7. Percent 8. Graphic and introduction to statistics 9. Geometry and measurement 10. Polynomials The entire book is about 800 pages, so each topic appears to be covered fairly thoroughly. Skipjack will be happy to know that each section includes upwards of 50 sample problems  repetition, repetition, repetition. Indeed. 
January 15th, 2008, 06:38 PM  #7 
Global Moderator Joined: Dec 2006 Posts: 19,528 Thanks: 1750 
The wording "something similar" is too vague for me to be able to comment as to whether what you gave is "accurate". The scaling information is irrelevant, so changing it makes no significant difference. Arithmetic "drills" are more than just learning dull facts; you become used to the methods used and to handling numbers accurately. Hence drawing scale diagrams reasonably accurately becomes easier, and there are many other incidental benefits. 

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