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The word algebra comes from the title of a famous work called “Al-kitāb al-mukhtaṣar fī ḥisāb al-ğabr wa’l-muqābala”, but in English translates into, “The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing”. The word “al-ğabr” which means "reunion” or “completion". Whenever you are solving for x, you are reuniting parts into a whole. Who knew Algebra could be so romantic? al-Khwarizmi, the Persian mathematician and astronomer, that’s who. He developed Algebra as a way to solve polynomial equations. If you have ever seen Islamic art, you will see that polynomials play a huge part in the art and architecture of the Arab world.
(Check out those arches!)
About Mrs. Vaughn Langendorff
I was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina during the largest blizzard on record to that date. I was supposed to be born on Christmas, but I was finally born thirteen days after. When I was a baby, my mom and dad moved to Berkeley, California to be a folk singer and poet (respectively). When I was three, my dad moved to East Oakland, and I grew up there. I started at Laurel school in Oakland, then on to Twin Pines (now Park Day School), then was in the first middle school class at St. Paul's Episcopal School. I received a full scholarship to and graduated from The Head Royce School in Oakland, then went onto UC Davis. I got an undergraduate degree in American Studies with a minor in English Literature. I moved to Boston to go to graduate school, and I received an Master of Arts of Teaching with a focus in English Literature from Emmanuel College in Boston.
So why the heck is this lady teaching math?
A very good question! I have always LOVED math and science. I was in Advanced Algebra in 8th grade, and I won the school wide physics competition when I was in 9th grade. However, my family was very discouraging of my love of science and math, because I was a girl, so I ended up majoring in the Humanities. I taught English and History for over a decade, then something terrible happened. I almost died! I had to have emergency heart surgery and go on diasbility. While I was out, a friend started a small video game company and asked me to write some text for her, since she could not find someone who could punctuate properly. Then that task morphed into an accidental full time job, which blossomed into a five year career as a video game designer. During that time, I had to use a lot of math skills, so I started taking math classes before and after work. When I decided to go back to teaching, I really wanted to teach math, so I took the classes I needed, passed the tests I needed, and now I am here.
And let me tell you, I love teaching math! So, even though I am a brand new math teacher, this will be year 17 in the classroom. I look forward to sharing it with you!