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Michelle's ePortfolio

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My Math Journey

Abhorrence for Math


I still remember that Math was once the most terrible subject for me. I had abhorrence for math when I was in elementary school because it was so full of uncertainty. For other subjects such as history and geography, I can be sure that I get the correct answer as long as I memorize the facts correctly. However, this was just not the case for math. There’s just too little for me to remember. I have to say that I am kind of a perfectionist in terms of academic results. I have to be sure about the answer before I actually write it down on the answer sheet. Hence, I remember that I sometimes got to do a single question for three times before going to another question. The results of my classes at elementary school was not particularly good owing as I often did not have enough time to complete all the questions in the test or exam. As time goes by, I get really nervous every time before a math test because I though that even good preparation could not guarantee a good result.

Inspiring Math Teacher at Junior High school



Thanks to Mr. Albert Lee, who is a math teacher at my junior high school, I managed to get rid of my abhorrence for math. I actually turned to appreciate its beauty of variance. Mr. Lee always insisted that idea that it does not matter whichever method you use to solve the problem as long as u arrive at the correct answer. There is not an absolute way to solve a particular problem. You can always tackle that by different methods. You are correct as long as you can reach the answer though it can really be time consuming when you have chosen a clumsy solution. I love this beauty of variance. Mr. Albert lee showed me that math can really be lots of fun when he introduced the game Sudoku to me.

Sudoku, also known as Number Place, is a logic-based placement puzzle. The aim of the puzzle is to enter a numerical digit from 1 through 9 in each cell of a 99 grid made up of 33 subgrids (called "regions"), starting with various digits given in some cells (the "givens"). Each row, column, and region must contain only one instance of each numeral. Completing the puzzle requires patience and logical ability.

You can play Sudoku at the following website. I am sure you will also like it a lot.

Have a try now!!

The Calculus Series at Foothill College

Calculus: Single and Mutivariables
This is the Calculus textbook used at Foothill College

Math 1A& 1B

When I first came to Foothill last Fall, I had not decided my major yet. Although I knew for a very long time I love solving logical problems, I had never come up with the idea of actually taking Math as my major. However, I decided to have Mathematics as my major after taking Math 1A at Foothill College with Mr. Sawka. Math 1A is actually the first class in the calculus series. Mrs. Sawka’s class was really conceptual. I still remember his famous saying that the whole mystery of Calculus is “Straight lines are much simpler than Curvy lines”. Although the ideas of calculus may seem very complex, but all of them can be tied to this saying. We are just analyzing complex graphs by using curvy lines. I became really interested in Mathematics and Calculus after taking this class and thus decided to have math as my major.

I took my Math 1B class about integration with Mr. Sawka again. The fundamental theorem of calculus is really amazing. Calculus has a huge application in many fields in a lot of fields. In fact, Mathematics is crucial in almost every field. It infiltrates into every parts of our lives. I felt that I had chosen the right major for myself even more after taking Math 1B.
Math 1C
I breezed through both Math 1A and Math 1B classes, but I had a hard time when I took Math 1C because the course focused on visualizing the three dimensional space. Yet I have bad visual intelligence and so I had a hard time struggling through the class. However, this class made me realize that there’re certain some areas in Calculus which I am not particularly good at and so I need to put more effort into those particular areas. I did not do so well in the two midterms so I worked really hard for the final, yet I still got a B eventually in the class. That hurt my confidence a little bit at that time.
Math 1D
Owing the little failure in Math 1C, I determined to work really hard for my Math 1D. Math 1D, which is about vector calculus, has always been known as the hardest Math course. I took this class with Professor Moriss last quarter. He was really an inspiring instructor. He stressed a lot on thinking out the problem with our mind instead of memorizing the formulae. He suggested that instead of just knowing the formulae, we should go further to trace back how those formulae were derived logically. He also valued a lot on class participation and required everyone in the class to contribute some thought-provoking questions in class. This class really enhanced my critical thinking.


Discrete Mathematics

I took Discrete Math (Math 22) together with Math 1C. I turned to really love the Math 22 class because it is all about logical thinking. It features at proving Mathematical identities and fallacies. It also I loved this class so much that I could sometimes spent the whole Thursday afternoon reading the textbook with enthusiasm as I had quiz every Friday. The class was really theory intensive and inspiring.

Linear Algebra

I am taking linearly algebra with ProfessorSeelbach this quarter. This course throws me completely into the world of abstraction. Linear Algebra is very practical in terms of analysis of real-world situation. It can be applied to the forecast of the stock market price and designing of circuit. A lot of students in this high-level class are student of either math major or engineering major. Some of them are really bright and reason out great ideas. I really learn a lot from my Math 2B classmates.

Differential Equations
I am going to take Differential Equations (Math 2A) which is going to be the last Math class next quarter.There is only one class for this course next quarter and the instructor is known to be a tough frader. However, I believe that the sense of satisfaction will be really great if I can succeed in the class taught by an instructor who is known as the toughest math instructor in Foothill.

I work as a grader for Mr. Sawka’a Trig class this quarter. This is actually the first time for me to be a grader and I learnt from this job. From grading the homework, I realize that fact that everyone in the same class has different levels of understanding. While some of the students grasp the material very well, some of them can really have no clue about it. I can see that the work of a teacher is really hard owing to different levels of understanding. I can always see the value of private one-to-one tutoring because the individual student can really get to ask about the area which he or she has problem with