Sonja Kovalevsky 

Our mathematician spotlight for precalc this unit is Sonja Kovalevsky. I told my kids that if Jonas ever gets a sister I would love to name her Sonja because not only is it the name of one of my favorite mathematicians, it’s also the name of my maternal grandmother. 

“Also,” I said while I wrote J-O-N-A-S on the whiteboard…

A couple students gasped as they saw it right away. 

I rearranged the letters to spell Sonja. 

The kids went crazy. Sometimes I forget that they are as easily entertained as I am. In moments, they were planning my second child and trying to figure out other names that used the same letters. 

(They could hardly contain themselves when I told them Jason works, too.)

I love having a job where I get to invest in kids’ lives. But, it’s even more rewarding when I realize they’re invested in my life, too. 


A topic my calc students have struggled with is Rate In/Rate Out problems. In the past, I’ve kind of had a “well, just wrestle through it and hopefully some lightbulbs will go off” approach. But I finally took some time to compile a list of various questions they may be asked and then found problems and wrote some problems of my own for the kids to practice. 

It was such a great day in calculus. The kids tackled some of the hardest problems they’ll encounter in Calc AB with amazing success. I was so proud of their work. And proud of myself that I could–finally–concisely help them navigate these problems. 


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