We had the “Is mathematics invented or discovered?” debate in precalc last week. Apparently, it stuck with some of the kids. Today, we were discussing approximation methods for finding area under curves. I said something like, “Riemann was one of the guys who came up with this idea of adding an infinite number of infinitesimally thin rectangles together…”

A kid in the back, who’s struggled all year, earnestly raised his hand and asked, “Now. Did Riemann INVENT or DISCOVER this?”




In Intermediate Algebra, I have a girl whom I adore, who has never really liked math–or school, for that matter–until this year. She has an attitude like I’ve never seen, but she’s mostly bark, very little bite. 

Today, one of her friends asked me to help her with a problem. Right as I arrived, the first student (attitude girl) began explaining away. 

“Ok, you WAITED just so Mrs. Peterson could see you do that.”

I thought that was incredibly precious. She wanted to show off her math skills. This girl. The girl who hated school just a few months ago…

As I left, I heard her say, “You just gonna add five and eight and negative one. And that’s twelve, in case you were wondering.”

Big victory right there. For this teacher, at least. 


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