Mia’s school does this thing called Math Challenge. All classes in all grade levels participate and each time they pass a level they get a small prize (a pencil, an eraser, etc.). When they’ve passed all three levels their name appears in the weekly newsletter sent out to parents. Mia doesn’t know this yet, but she’s inherited my half-brain. As in, we are all right-brained. Our left brain is either missing completely or just doesn’t care to show up most of the time. And when it does show up, as in, Hey, let’s sit down and come up with a monthly budget! Won’t that be fun? My right brain is all Um, okay, sure I guess…Ooooh, look at how those numbers almost spell blue, and isn’t it poetic the way the sun streaming through the window slants across this spreadsheet? Let’s go look at the clouds…
I failed algebra in high school. Twice. I’m not proud of this, just simply stating a fact so you can fully grasp what Mia is up against. Tell me to write an essay on Shakespeare and it’s done in twenty minutes. Give me a story problem about trains leaving different stations at different times, traveling at different speeds, and I’ll chuck that thing in the garbage.
Mia, oh Mia. She’s tried for months to pass level one of Math Challenge. And every week she slumps through the front door, pulls out her sheet showing which problems she’s missed and walks it straight to the garbage. She really, really, reallyreallyreally wants to pass Math Challenge.
Zach grew up on 23 acres of woods, and to hear him tell it he combed those woods as a boy, hunting four-leaf clovers. He never found one. Not one.
The other day Mia went outside to play in the backyard. She returned a few minutes later with a bouquet of dandelions and this.
The next day she passed level one of Math Challenge.