What Is Meditation?

 

Meditation is a practice that equips someone with the ability to draw focus to a particular object, thought, or activity in order to train a deeper awareness. It’s believed to be so beneficial because of its impact on one’s achievement of clarity, relaxation, or emotional stability!

You’ve probably heard this word being paired with “Mindfulness”, which is the awareness of the present moment. When you put them together, you get something called “Mindfulness Meditation” which is a practice able to help you draw focus to the present in order to bring stillness, peace, or emotional clarity to what’s currently happening. Mindfulness meditation is incredibly helpful for grounding your being and alleviating symptoms of ruminating thoughts, anxiety, stress, even depression.

However, meditation is a very malleable practice with lots of versions to accommodate any and all needs. You can find meditations for pretty much anything, but also mold it to fit your individual desires!

 

The Benefits of Meditation

There are many proven benefits to meditation in social, emotional, and mental capacities! Here are just some of the core perks:

Improved Attention:

Those who meditate can eventually condition themselves to attune their focus much more easily, effectively, and naturally! Attention is something many of us deal with especially in times of stress or anxiety, so meditation can act as that grounding force.

Boosts Immune System:

New studies and clues indicate that meditation CAN boost the immune system! Negative emotions, traumas, and more have the power to manifest inside our body, so meditation can help us begin to release those stresses and connect deeper with our bodily instincts. 

Longer Concentration:

The strengthened attention can help prolong one’s ability to concentrate on tasks! Performing a task or set of them can be difficult when someone can get overwhelmed or pressured by external stresses, so incorporating meditation into a daily routine will improve the fluidity of someone’s day–to-day responsibilities!

Lower Stress Levels:

Reducing stress is a very typical motivating factor in why people take up meditation! Stress is usually produced as a result of ruminating thoughts about the past or future, draining tasks or interactions, and more. By integrating meditation into everyday life, you can create space to decompress from these taxing thoughts and have more time to actually enjoy the present moment.

 

Why It Should Be Encouraged In the Classroom!

Meditation shouldn’t just stay in yoga classes or within the adult community- you people can benefit from it, too! This can become an especially useful resource for kids in school, being that it can be quite a stressful environment for them. 

Here’s why meditation should be encouraged in educational environments:

Increased Focus = Less Distractions:

When children are unable to pay attention for prolonged periods of time, their schooling isn’t nearly as effective. They are unable to retain a majority of the knowledge- but that can change! Meditation can encourage students to bring themselves into the present, and by fortifying their focusing skills they won’t be as distracted! Less distractions leave more room for productive growth!

Cope with Stress + Emotions Better:

Stress is never going to go away completely; we all experience it in different ways. Emotional regulation can be tough for younger people, so giving them the tools to start early is a great idea! Meditation has the ability to bring down the heightened bodily and emotional sensations, which gives children the space to process what they’re thinking and feeling.

Helps with Nerves during Test Taking:

As a result of the stress reduction, stressful tasks are not as daunting! Children face many assessments, exams, projects, and responsibilities that heighten their fear of failure. So, meditation can be a great preparatory exercise so they can attack their assignments with clarity and even more confidence.

Calmer State of Mind:

Schools can be very chaotic, even draining environments for some kids. They deserve to feel secure, safe, and comfortable in the places they exist in for long periods of time. Meditation can help- the connection between body and mind will calm the childrens’ nervous systems for a more pleasant attitude.

Strengthened Social Skills:

Children are very impressionable people, and one negative experience can harm them. This is applicable when making friends, which is a very stressful thing when it’s not always as organic or easy! Meditation can help a student regulate their own selves so they know how to better approach their peers and create stronger bonds.

Develop Empathy:

Those who consistently practice meditation have a greater ability to show deep understanding of others’ perspectives. This can be incredibly beneficial in school environments, where many young individuals are exposed to different viewpoints. Empathy can help a student resolve a conflict, understand a relational situation, or just ground their mind before reacting to something.

Improves Overall Self-Esteem + Confidence:

Students can have a VERY hard time attacking their assignments and learning with confidence. Meditation, especially when incorporating affirming statements, will broaden their belief systems. The positive, more mindful thinking will allow them to recognize their worth and capability! The improved self-esteem will better ALL areas of life, but show in the results of their education.

 

If you are curious to know more about why meditation is so beneficial, there are many articles out there to help you with research! This one is a great yet simple summary of what you can find!

How The Use of Daily Math Practice Can GREATLY Benefit Someone’s Ability to Perform and Retain Their Learnings

Let’s face it, math is HARD. It’s harder for some than others, and that is okay. But no matter where you or someone else on your math journey, you can never go wrong with some daily practice.

Daily math practice has proven significant results, nourishing many skills and traits that can pour into other realms of knowledge. It doesn’t have to be too hard or extensive, but just enough to keep the learning productive and challenging enough for optimal retention.

Below are some core benefits of daily math practice and even some TIPS to help you and others get started on building this daily habit!

 

Benefits of Daily Math Practice

Builds Confidence in Students:

It’s easy to get caught up in the frustration of a mentally taxing task, which can turn someone off from doing the work entirely. That’s why it’s useful to make math practice a regular thing- it establishes the space AND time to work on the tough stuff! The frustration will slowly diminish over time as the practicing becomes more consistent. Not only that, but building the confidence in their intellectual capabilities can carry into other realms of education, improving overall performance!

Less Room for Forgetfulness:

The stress and anger towards math ruminates most likely due to the misunderstanding or disconnect from the content itself. When a student is unable to remember key factors in the math they’re learning, they probably won’t grasp the lesson at all. With a steady approach, students can retain what they learned in smaller time frames and build as they go.

Decreases the Likelihood of Strenuous Test Prep:

Everyone HATES nasty amounts of prep the night before a big exam, right? It’s probably because of the sheer quantity of how much being asked to remember AND solve, which is difficult for a dense subject like math. When you categorize math that’s eventually going to be assessed, there’s more room to focus on precise objectives for each of the lessons. It’s much less arduous to break it up for specialized focus than dumping it all on one person to figure out!

More Meticulous Tracking of Progress:

Instead of experiencing overwhelming or massive stress at the lack of positive change, daily math practice will give smaller chunks of progress to assess! This is especially helpful to educators, tutors, even guardians helping kids with their math. Fixed evaluation makes someone’s educational experience more digestible and easier to modify, which is beneficial for both students AND their educators.

The Scores will Show the Work:

The more practice, the better the outcomes! This can be heavily applied to many processes of learning: sports, art, music, and more importantly SCHOOL. Math is one of those topics that many young people are not immediately affluent in, which makes assessment that much more draining. Providing a framework of steady studying will allow these students to enter this opportunity with a much less pessimistic attitude than if you were to let them drown in the overwhelm.

Implements Growth Mindset:

There is such a thing as intelligent failing for optimal growth. If you’re not familiar with a growth mindset, it’s allowing someone to experience obstacles in an area of learning to actively retain useful lessons from. In math, it’s important for students to LEARN from their mistakes; this helps them to relearn what they didn’t previously remember or recognize, thus helping them develop stronger problem solving skills!

These are just some of the infinite benefits to making math practice a daily habit- and if you’re compelled to make this a routine in YOUR life or someone else’s, great! There are, however, some key factors to consider when formulating your own approach to this discipline.

 

Tips For Math Review for RESULTS

Consistency is KEY:

This NOT one of those things you can do for a few days then pitter out and expect drastic results. The key to unlocking REAL change is the continuation of the habit itself, and focusing on QUALITY rather than quantity. Start out with five to fifteen minutes per day before increasing the volume of the math practice; this will help build a strong foundation for the daily ritual without starting off so strong you intimidate someone out of it with stress.

Provide a Strong Foundation or Framework:

If you’re helping a young child or student out on their math journey, you might want to consider their own level of math understanding first! It would be silly to just dive head first into a topic they haven’t even heard of, you know? So, start by observing and gaining useful insight into their level of difficulty, efficiency, etc. so you can give them basic rules, formulas, and resources that’ll guide them. 

Communicate for Deeper Insight:

It’s IMPORTANT to keep an open line of communication about many things here. Expectations, objectives, goals, and more should not be automatically assumed when entering this educational space- and this is something that can be built upon! And it’s crucial to let the student or young child know they are heard, seen, and validated for the perspective they have. Nurturing their progress with honesty and respect can go a LONG way.

Integrate Test Prep Into Routine Coursework:

There are such things as standardized tests and entry exams, which is something to consider! This may be on an individual or school basis, so gain grounding in upcoming exams (even in just regular school) to help you articulate the necessities for daily practice.

Provide FUN + New Ways to Practice:

Many people, especially kids, respond well to fun & pleasure! In terms of daily math practice, incorporate a fun trivia question or three question entry or exit assessment to refresh their knowledge from the day or lesson prior. You can go even bigger by doing weekly review games as a way to keep the kid(s) energized and actually excited about showing off what they’ve learned!

How the Contributions of One Alexandrian Mathematician Influenced the Course of Human Thought

 

What Started As A Thought…

Soon blossomed into an entire movement of thought and education.

We’ve all been taught about ancient Greece as well as their intellectually rich culture. They birthed and molded so many foundational leaders of thought in realms such as math, philosophy, religion, even art and architecture. 

One of the most contributors to the evolution of math is Euclid. Euclid was known and referred to as the “father” or “founder” of Geometry. Geometry is a very distinct field within mathematics responsible for explaining the relationships of planes and objects. We all start to integrate geometrical knowledge when we learn the properties of shapes, points, lines, and the connection between them all!

Euclid is the namesake of Euclidean geometry, which is the basis of plane geometry like his published works allude to. But we’ll get into that later!

 

About Euclid

What we know of Euclid derives from a summary of famous mathematicians contrived by Greek philosopher Proclus (410-485 CE). Very little detail is actually known about Euclid’s life, however, has been hypothesized and framed by key events: his birth, death, and prominent mathematical contributions.

Euclid was born approximately 325 BCE and hails from the great Alexandria, a prominent civilization in Egypt. It is believed he passed there as well about 265 BC. 

He taught in Alexandria at the time of Ptolemy I Soter (367/366-283/282 BC), the Macedonian ruler of Egypt.

In the summary procured by Proclus, it describes Euclid stating:

Not much younger than these [pupils of Plato] is Euclid, who put together the “Elements”… for Archimedes, who followed closely upon the first Ptolemy makes mention of Euclid, and further they say that Ptolemy once asked him if there were a shorted way to study geometry than the Elements, to which he replied that there was no royal road to geometry…

Euclid of Alexandria is typically mistook for Euclid of Megara, who lived 100 years before he was even born! And even though much of his existence remains in question, there is absolutely no doubt that he provided one of the most revolutionary pieces of work for math to evolve in the following 2000 years.

 

Euclid’s Contributions + Euclidean Geometry

What did Euclid ultimately contribute to math?

He wrote a collection of work known as the Elements. Euclid’s Elements is a compilation of postulates, proposals, and rules of geometry. There are five postulates introduced at the beginning of this collection, assuming the existence of points and lines and how they relate to one another.

 

The five postulates state:

  1. A straight line segment can be drawn to connect any two points.
  2. Any straight line segment can extend indefinitely in a straight line.
  3. Given any straight line segment, a circle can be drawn having the segment as a radius and one endpoint (of the segment) as the circle’s center.
  4. All right angles are congruent (equal).
  5. If a straight line falling on two straight lines makes the interior angles on the same side less than two right angles, the two straight lines, if produced indefinitely, meet on that side on which are the angles less than the two right angles.

The fifth postulate defines what’s known as a parallel postulate, and it has not been proven yet despite many attempts. 

You’ll probably find many of these postulates as basic rules introduced to you when you learned what geometry was! Elements essentially highlights the fundamentals of Euclidean geometry, which is taught in secondary education. 

There are thirteen books in total, highlighting definitions and propositions revolving around the theory of geometry, proportions, circles, number theory, geometric algebra, and solid figures. Euclid dives into great detail for each subject he accentuates with his writing to ensure the comprehension of how they all correlate to one another.

It’s one of the oldest surviving mathematical publications known to humankind, which is why it’s been carried into our prevalent education today. 

 

Why Is It Important?

Subcategories of math such as geometry and number theory help us develop a wide array of applications. For instance, geometry helps us develop and understand spatial awareness as well as relationships. This helps us create modern structures that hold up, and it also helps us find shapes for functional inventions. Without the fundamental knowledge of circles, polygons, and solid shapes, we wouldn’t have half the stuff we use on a daily basis!

How Math Greatly Affects our Daily Life and Development of Civilization

 

Math has worked WONDERS for our daily lives. You may not personally enjoy the subject yourself, and that’s okay! However, it’s difficult to disregard just how influential math has become in modern society, and the development of civilization as a whole.

It’s deeply ingrained in everything we’ve built, negotiated, engineered, and modernized. It provides order in our lives and minimizes the chaos. Our statistics, logic, ethics, and deeply encoded practices all have math to thank. And whether we see it or not, math materializes into phenomena all around us.

Math is a globally understood and utilized knowledge, which opens us up to connecting in ways we typically couldn’t. When we encounter an opportunity to have an exchange of knowledge, we can only grow in our comprehension. That’s probably why so many of our biggest advancements came into fruition when a great discovery in math was made. 

I mean, take a look at the ancient Egyptians… once they discovered how to apply their mathematical findings, the Great Pyramids came to be and, well, the rest is history.

Even when we aren’t in active math mode or solving something directly in front of us, it’s a skill we implement daily. It forges our cognitive, intellectual, and academic discipline- and yes, we use it in domestic situations as well! What do you think lays the foundation for things like cooking, telling time, even filling our homes with furniture?

What are the benefits of math in daily life? Oh, let us count some (of the infinite) ways…

 

Daily Benefits of Math

Builds Mental Discipline: It’s no secret that math is an incredibly rigorous topic to learn and master, which we’ve been exposed to from very young ages. The numbers, equations, formulas, proofs, measurements, shapes… they are all intricately designed with their unique set of rules and methods. When we are presented with a problem to solve or decipher, it’s on us and our discipline to consistently show up and remain engaged. In order to get the answers we need to understand the math, that involves discipline and perseverance to get it done.

Can Help Build a Growth Mindset: This is especially useful for young minds & students, since they don’t have as much emotional or mental regulation. Our brains naturally react to a roadblock in two ways: find another solution or give up. When math presses us with a similar kind of obstacle, it gives us the option to learn the technique effectively by trying an improved strategy or settle for the wrong answer. Encouraging younger students or those starting out in math to find a new means of solving the problem helps stretch and grow their brain by LEARNING from prior mistakes. If we don’t learn, how can we be expected to do better?

Logical + Quantitative Reasoning: These are two fundamental elements to developing an argument. Providing the logical explanation or function combined with quantitative approaches can establish necessary evidence to prove the validity! Combining these both will cultivate inductive, deductive, even statistical methods. When applied to math, this can aid in analyzing the deeper meanings that the math insinuates.

A Language of Science + Technology: Although Science and Technology are their own innovative fields, math helps to organize and communicate their information. When math is applied to technology, it can help people such as scientists and engineers create systemic and productive practices to transmit useful knowledge. It also helps specify what is necessary to construct the tools and advancements making our daily lives that much easier.

Foundation for MANY fields: Aside from the obvious, math lays a strong infrastructure for many other fields. For instance, math is utilized in cooking, architecture, politics, economics, accounting, finance, mass production, and so many more fields. Jobs in ALL of these fields most likely require a background in math, being that they all use different disciplines within math to find what they’re looking for.

Paves Way for Invention: Obviously humanity would not be where it is without math to help them modify their inventions. With the use of math (and even a growth mindset), we can find new ways to strengthen or improve an idea or physical creation. If you read early Greek works revolving around the understanding of the Universe, they resorted to math to support their philosophical discoveries.

Helps Us Understand The Universe: Yes, math pervades all forms of universal matter. Even quantifiable amounts of sub particles can alter the impact of a singular atom. Things such as sacred geometry, quantum physics, and mathematical structure that explains all things discoverable (and still not discovered) in our Universe. 

Encourages Critical Thinking: When it comes to math, critical thinking implies there is a reasonable decision or judgment needed to be made to execute the problem. In other words, the person doing the math must make thought-out decisions given the information and mathematical criteria at hand. 

How the first recorded female mathematician, Hypatia, paved way for women in math and philosophy

 

The Great Alexandria

Many of us have been educated on humankind’s earliest civilizations. One of the more infamous yet mysterious communities we have collected knowledge on was Alexandria. It was a port city located in present-day northern Egypt, and one of the greatest Mediterranean cities to exist in our recorded history. 

It was founded in approximately 331 BC by Alexander the Great, a fierce Macedonian ruler and military genius. Alexander left to pursue a takeover of nearby Persia, so Alexandria was left to be ruled by the Ptolemaic Dynasty for nearly three centuries; a famous ruler within this dynasty includes queen Cleopatra VII. Alexandria was known as the greatest city to ever exist and would later become a major hotspot for early Christianity, a center for religious turmoil from clashes between faiths. 

A highly regarded figure that emerged from this time was true icon Hypatia.

 

Who was Hypatia?

Hypatia (355-415 AD) was one of the first well known feminine figures in philosophy, astronomy, and math. 

“First” is a loosely applicable term in this discussion since the TRUE first female mathematician was Pandrosion, but Hypatia was the first to be well recorded and depict historical accuracy about one of the world’s most prolific civilizations.

She lived during the time of ancient Alexandria, but existed amidst an incredibly disorderly and violent era in the empire’s existence. Due to the turbulent chain of events that occurred during and after her time, it greatly accentuates Hypatia’s success to defy traditional odds inflicted upon Alexandrian women. 

She was absolutely set up for greatness; her father was a well known mathematician, Theon of Alexandria (335-405 AD). It was most likely that she was taught and instructed by her father, which shows through the similarities in their separate works. Theon was most known for aiding in the preservation of Euclid’s Elements, a thirteen book collection encapsulating mathematical theories and proofs. Much of his work molded her own, as she took great effort in preserving the historical intellect of Greek heritage, especially in the fields of math and philosophy.

A well-loved Pagan, Hypatia was quite tolerant towards those of Christian faith.This is incredibly important being that she existed in a time where the Christians, Jews, and Pagans were all experiencing conflict with one another. Her well-composed demeanor helped establish a reputable relationship with the elite upper class; this dynamic even bled into responsibilities she held later in her life. 

Hypatia’s realms of expertise were heavily male dominant fields of intellect, work, and discourse. Therefore, a woman entering that space with confident and productive contributions challenged the conventionality of Alexandria’s gender roles and dynamics. 

 

What did she DO exactly?

Hypatia was credited with writing commentaries for various texts. She constructed a commentary focusing on Diophantus’ Arithmetica. This is a partially survived thirteen volume text harping on the development of number theory through equations. Her other prominent commentary revolved around Apollonius of Perga’s Conics. Conics is a dissertation about conic sections and their influence on modern and ancient analytical geometry. 

Her commentaries greatly exemplified her high level of intelligence and understanding of math as well as philosophy. In fact, she was so well-versed that she became a very well-known 

teacher at the Neoplatonic school of Alexandria; she taught philosophy and astronomy. This school grounded their particular education in the teachings of infamous figures Plato and Aristotle. It catered largely to both Christian and Pagan students, and many who were of the Pagan faith became loyal pupils and friends of Hypatia.

Aside from her educational endeavors, Hypatia also spent time constructing various tools for use in her fields, such as the hydrometer and astrolabes. Even though she didn’t invent them, she showed great familiarity with their functionality.

Hypatia’s great relationships with her pupils influenced the effects of historical events on her life. The religious divide in Alexandria was very tumultuous and chaotic, and possibly led to the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria. There were books from the Library believed to be kept in the Serapeum, a temple of the Greco-Roman god Serpais, led by Saint Theophilus of Alexandria. That temple was eventually destroyed as well due to its ties to the Great Library.

Coincidentally, Theophilius was associated with one of Hypatia’s devoted pupils, Synesius. These mutual ties termporarily permitted Hypatia to continue her work until her death. Once the theologian St. Cyril ascended into his power, he continued his uncle Theophilus’ work by enabling the violence against non-Christian civilians. Hypatia was gruesomely murdered by a group of fanatical Christians; Hypatia was a well-known Pagan and fell victim to their rioting.

Despite her demise, Hypatia remains a powerful feminist icon and influential mathematician. She represented great resilience, female empowerment and a perseverance to break the mold that’s been repeatedly inflicted upon feminine figures in the past and present. 

Need a new place to visit, or looking to relocate? The capital of Texas has just about everything you could want.

Big land, even bigger personality. Located in the Southern Central region of the United States is Texas, also known as the Lone Star state. Known for its history, diversity, and fiery flare on just about everything, Texas has become quite a popular place to reside. Families and young people alike have been flocking to Texas to get a taste of its exciting persona. 

 

A STAR Spot To Be

Texas has become a harmonious melting pot of so many cultures. 

Because of its rich history as a state, it’s become home to many unique lifestyles and demographics, ranging from family units to young professionals to Texas natives of the sort. It has both larger and smaller communities to pick from, but one of the most popular and most-visited cities is its capital: Austin!

Austin is one of the top urban locations to reside and visit, here’s what YOU need to know about the city and alllll it has to offer.

 

Let’s Get DOWN To It

Like all major cities, Austin has a downtown area. Needless to say, it’s probably their hottest spots to visit, enjoy, even live. Downtown Austin represents Texan history, vibrant nightlife, and it’s got lots of enthralling entertainment! 

Because of its downtown-esque qualities, living in downtown Austin creates a convenience and efficiency like no other. There’s public transportation to utilize, places accessible through a leisurely walk, and an array of living options! Many young professionals reside downtown, given the proximity to many businesses as well as its engaging social scene. However, there are families who do reside there as well!

If you’re someone raising a family and education is your priority, not to worry; there are many educational avenues to take! Some of the top rated public schools accessible to downtown Austin include: Liberal Arts & Science Academy, Richards School for Young Women Leaders, Forest Trail Elementary School, and Matthews Elementary School. If you’re desiring a private institution, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School and St. Stephen’s Episcopal School are renowned places to send your children to learn.

Want to take a peek into how the Lone Star state came to be what it is today? Check out the late 19th-century architecture epitomized by popular landmarks such as the State Capitol Building and the Driskill Hotel. Even though they are direct representations of Texas’ evolution, downtown Austin also provides more modern museums that are just as engaging.

What would downtown be without some amazing dining options? Texas has always been such a dynamic food and drink scene, and you can find something for everybody! Some crowd favorites include the Upstairs Circus, Cooper’s Old Time Pit BBQ, Container Bar, and Texas Chili Parlor.

Beyond the typical amenities a city provides, there are very fun things to do when you’re looking to explore what Austin has to offer!

 

What’s A Person To Do?

Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk: Take a stroll, bike ride, or visit any of the restaurants on this boardwalk! There’s a very popular 3-mile loop that starts at the Austin High pedestrian bridge, but the boardwalk technically begins near the Austin-American Statesman on East Riverside. You can check out a map of the boardwalk here!

SFC Farmers Market: The Sustainable Food Center hosts a farmer’s market every Saturday featuring lots of vendors, live music, and activities! Everything is 100% local, showcasing pride and appreciation for the many that populate Austin with their hard work and talent. And the best part? They’re open year round!

Austin Duck Adventure: Known as the ORIGINAL Austin tour, this is an amphibious tour of the city of Austin. Take a trip on this Hydra Terra vehicle and experience both downtown Austin AND Austin Lake! You can even schedule for a large group or party!

Rainey Street: Despite the urban energy and closeness to major highways, Rainey Street is a quaint area full of entertainment and fun. They renovated houses into bungalows for bars and food of the sort. However, they also do feature live music as well as a wide variety of art to preserve and showcase the Latin culture.

 Esther’s Follies: Looking for a laugh? Esther’s is home to award-winning comedy troupe. They perform comedy, magic, and music too! It has been the most celebrated comedy troupe in Texas for nearly forty years! 

The Contemporary Austin: Don’t worry, we weren’t gonna gatekeep the modern art magic Austin holds. This museum has so many exhibits to experience and appreciate! They’re so passionate about the expression of art and creativity, they even have K-12 programs and an art school to attend!

Museum of The Weird: Another wonderful museum Austin offers is this collection of world’s strangest attractions! It’s located right on Sixth Street, a historically rich and incredibly popular street to visit right in downtown Austin! 

 

Inquiring For A New Home OR Place To Visit?

If you want to learn more about Austin’s potential to be your next home, check out the Downtown Alliance website for all their amazing initiatives for the city! You can also research real estate.

Through the early mathematical and philosophical learnings made by classical and ancient civilizations, we’ve come to better acquaint ourselves with the machinations of our Universe

 

It’s no secret that much of our knowledge of the Universe was closely related to the fundamental discoveries both in Math and Science. Astronomy has proven especially resourceful in how we’ve been able to comprehend our place in the never-ending cosmos. 

Despite the few early misconceptions, there have been many astronomers, mathematicians, and philosophers who’ve produced profound learnings we still apply today. Some of the most influential minds in math and astronomy derived from classical and ancient civilizations such as Greece, Rome, Babylonia, Egypt, even China, and India.

There’s distinctive material evidence to prove Babylonia was among the first to adopt mathematical practices when studying celestial occurrences. Back when they utilized cuneiform tablets (a pictographic system) for writing and recording, the Babylonians left behind various charts to indicate they were geometrically calculating astronomical placements! 

 

The Babylonians

The Babylonians, around 300 to 400 BC, started to use math as a way to calculate what is now known as the Zodiac chart! They divided the path of the Sun, Moon, and planets equally into 12 “phases”, then named them based upon nearby constellations. This was one of their many ways to compute where the planets, Sun, and Moon were which helped them eventually decipher what time of year it was!

It was one of the first and more advanced exemplifications of math being applied to astronomical affairs, but certainly not the last. Their early strategies centered around mathematical astronomy helped them calculate predictions of the position and track of Jupiter’s orbit!

The Babylonians, as well as the Egyptians, went on to adopt early astronomical calculations to formulate advanced calendars. They were the civilizations to primarily adopt astrology to better understand the machinations of our Universe. Unlike the earlier Mesopotamian communities, the Romans and Greeks used math and astronomy for other purposes.

 

The Romans

Early Romans were very familiar with celestial beings! Ptolemy, a prominent Egyptian philosopher (when Egypt was under Rome’s rule) was most known for formulating an Earth-centric depiction of our solar system. Ptolemy’s findings were so heavily inspirational to the Romans, they even created mythological figures to represent their understanding of the planets! 

The ancient Romans interpreted the role of the seven planets (they knew at the time): the Moon, the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn. It was the Greeks who ended up naming the planets, however, the Romans applied their own gods’ names to fit their narrative. We typically refer to these planets as their Roman names:

 

  • Mercury (aka Mercurius): named after the god of commerce, eloquence, travelers, 
  • Venus: named after the goddess of love for its bright light and softer appearance
  • Mars: for the god of war, rightfully named due to the planet’s bold red color
  • Jupiter: the biggest planet in the system named for the head Roman deity, the god of sky and thunder, and King of the Roman gods in their mythology
  • Saturn: the father of Jupiter, god of agriculture. Fun fact: based on Ptolemy’s model, Saturn is also named after Saturday (Saturn’s day)

 

Once the other planets in our solar system were discovered, they also received names in conjunction with Roman mythology. Uranus was named for the Roman personification of the sky, while Neptune was named after the god of the sea for its beautiful blue-green hue.

The Romans weren’t just accredited with naming the solar system; they created our current and most used yearly calendar! Before they adopted a prominent amount of Greek astronomy, the Romans paid meticulous attention to the placements of stars and planets in the sky to determine the lunar cycle. This aided them in growing a ten-month cycle to the twelve-month cycle. 

 

The Greeks

Much of our current understanding of astronomy would be nowhere without the Greeks. They were able to provide many other civilizations with specific findings of more minute planetary aspects at the time- for instance, our own Earth. Because the helio-centric depiction of our solar system didn’t arise until the discoveries of Copernicus (1473-1543), the Greeks took observational astronomy to try and detail more about Earth.

One of Greece’s innovative philosophers and mathematicians, Pythagoras, pushed many discoveries forward with his work. However, he based many of his revelations on mathematical perfectionism rather than genuine quantitative reasoning. For instance, Pythagoras was the first to propose that the Earth was spherical not because it made “sense”, but because the sphere is considered a “perfect” 3D shape. 

Pythagoras was not the only Greek to hypothesize major astronomical functions. Along came Aristarchus of Samos (310-230 BC) with his much more realistic contributions revolving around the Earth’s role in our Universe. He was the inspiration for Copernicus’s work.

Aristarchus focused mostly on the movement of the Earth and its size concerning both the Sun and Moon through eclipses! He procured three core premises that helped him articulate his findings. 

While observing a lunar eclipse, Aristarchus confirmed through geometrical analysis that the size of Earth’s shadow on the moon further proves that the Sun is of greater size than the Earth. Although Aristarchus made true statements about the measurements of our planet & its surroundings, he still followed the inaccurate geocentric model of our solar system (rather than the heliocentric one). 

Many many years passed before math and astronomy were applied to the RIGHT depiction of our solar system. Thanks to Copernicus and his proposal of an accurate heliocentric model, we were able to better detail why our Earth experiences the natural occurrences it does and how it affects other planets in our system.

It took quite a long time, and many other astronomers, to apply relevant math to confirm our place in the Universe. However, without the ancient and classical civilizations passionate about investigating our vast world, we would not have a strong basis to formulate our findings.

Need A Pick Me Up? Here Are 7 of the Best Taco Trucks and Coffee Joints in Austin, TX

 

A big city with a big attitude, but an even bigger appetite. If you’re craving some authentic Mexican cuisine, or a delicious dose of caffeine, then these joints are for you!

 

It’s no secret that Texas is home to a melting pot of delicious, satiating, and diverse foods inspired by various areas of the world. No matter where you go, rural or urban, there’s something new and intriguing to try.

 

But of course, like any other state in America, there are staples to their cuisine with a unique flare. Texas is very well known for having an array of Mexican-oriented food establishments with very special one-of-a-kind location options… food trucks!

 

Food trucks have become increasingly popular within the last few years for their easy accessibility for a stellar meal. Not only are they great for casual day-to-day life, but they make for awesome catering choices!

 

Texas, Austin in particular, has many food trucks dispersed throughout the area. They’re extremely popular since the city has a higher population, perfect for convenient and quick pick-me-ups during busy workdays. 

 

Two of their top-notch areas of food are tacos and coffee. Both are universal crowd favorites malleable in flavor and style for every kind of taste there is! 

 

No matter where you’re from, you’re sure to find cool and delicious takes on your go-to foods and beverages, especially in a place like Austin where the passion for a good dining experience is just as big as the city’s vibrant personality.

 

Below are the Top 7 Taco Trucks and Coffee Joints located in Austin, Texas! 

 

  1. Radio Coffee and Beer: This is for SURE a crowd pleaser because they offer both coffee AND tacos! While there’s a wide variety of coffee, cocktails, and beer options for Happy Hour, this shop teams up with Veracruz Natural to provide yummy tacos for those looking to get a bite as well as a drink!
  2. Top Taco: They offer a restaurant option, but the food truck is where it’s at! Top Taco has a wide variety of options for all tastes, including breakfast tacos! Not only that, but they have a Special of the Day so there’s always a different and fresh option for regulars to try!
  3. Idlewild Coffee: This local business located downtown has all the traditional styles of coffee you can imagine, but they also provide a niche food menu and other drinks like smoothies! The staff is also a perfect embodiment of Austin with a great attitude! 
  4. Pueblo Viejo: PV’s trucks offer just as much variety as their restaurant locations. They include more than just great tacos on their menu such as Gorditas and a variety of traditional Mexican dishes! They’re committed to providing freshness and a genuine taste of Mexican cuisine with their dining experiences.
  5. Austin Grind: Once known as “It’s A Grind”, this independently owned shop is the epitome of a neighborhood coffee joint! Much like bigger chains, they do provide an easy and convenient drive-thru option for those in a rush. They have lots of frozen AND hot options to satisfy every sweet tooth imaginable. They now stock their fridges with ice cream!
  6. Pepe’s Taco: Pepe’s has been perfecting Birria style Mexican food and they’ve nailed it! Birria is a traditional Mexican soup or stew made from robust flavors, but primarily dried chili peppers. Pepe’s menu includes Birria in almost every dish to ensure the trademark flavor is in every option for all the varying customers!
  7. Granny’s Tacos: Granny’s is for sure a crowd pleaser with the numerous kinds of yummy food they offer! There are lots of vegetarian options as well as food aside from tacos such as quesadillas, bowls, torta, etc. The tiny truck is usually hidden behind a long line!

 

The next time you’re exploring all the amazing opportunities that Austin has to offer, check out any of these options to see what kind of new twists on your faves that these establishments have to offer!

 

Be sure to check out all their websites for full menus, online ordering, their unique stories, and location options!

The Top 15 High Schools In Austin, Texas

 

This array of schools collect and display a diverse embodiment of academic integrity, stellar staff, diversity & inclusion, and extracurricular opportunities for their student bodies.

 

While all stages of education are important, high school might just be the most pivotal.

High School sets a student up for the path to their adult life, whatever that may entail. It’s essential to give these growing young adults all the resources and opportunities to explore all the big possibilities their future holds. Many of these stellar schools are dispersed throughout the entire country; they all have a unique take on education heavily based upon the state they exist in. 

 

There are bigger, higher populated states such as Texas that take this principle on head first. While infamous for its big attitude and rich history, Texas is also home to an array of vibrant metropolitan areas perfect to raise a growing family.

 

The capital, Austin, is one of those amazing cities able to cater to a wide collection of tastes and needs. The city exudes a strong sense of community through tight-knit neighborhoods, much of which are filled by the amazing schools within them. If you’re looking to relocate into or within the Lone Star state, or you’re just curious about what makes a high school the best it could be… look no further.

 

Here are the best 15 High Schools located in Austin, Texas!

 

  1. Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA): It’s fitting that this magnet school’s mantra is “sapere aude- dare to think”. Not only do they offer varying levels of difficulty within the core curriculum, but lots of electives so their students can really embrace their well-roundedness! Their mission is to provide a rigorous educational environment that evolves alongside the development of our nation.
  2. Westlake High School: This comprehensive four-year high school is designed to bring out the best in their student body. They boast impressive numbers exemplary of their promise; they’re regularly acknowledged by National Merit Scholarship Programs. In fact, 128 of their pupils were recognized by the organization this year!
  3. St. Stephen’s Episcopal School: This private boarding & day school strives to create a love for learning and all the opportunities to follow. They take the time and care to constitute an environment for all their students, especially the Upper School (grades 9-12). The combination of a rigorous course schedule with extracurriculars and study time (and on-campus boarding) really accentuates a real-life scenario many of the student body will encounter going forward in their academic pursuits!
  4. Austin High School: The Home of the Maroons is a great support system for young minds! They have very detailed education but strive to provide all sorts of academic support for the multiple situations their students encounter on a daily basis. In light of COVD-19, they also install precautions to preserve the safety and success of their student body.
  5. Headwaters School: Headwaters ensures nothing but their best interest in those who go there. They go above and beyond for every stage of education! One of their most outstanding characteristics is the high school’s International Baccalaureate Program for grades 11 and 12 designed to prepare them for real world experience!
  6. Crockett Early College High School: This institution is great for so many kinds of learners! This school has a core curriculum alongside programs such as AVID, a Gifted and Talented Program, and many Career & Technical routes for those with particular passions! 
  7. Atkins Early College High School: Much like Crockett, Atkins offers a plethora of specialized technical programs aside from their traditional education program. A bonus feature of their curriculum is summertime opportunities such as camps and a Credit Recovery program!
  8. Hyde Park High School: This private Christian school is great for those who want to align their faith with their schooling. They converge spiritual learnings and practices with everyday education so their students can explore external interests just as much as their internal belief systems!
  9. Garza Independence High School: Garza is a wonderful choice due to their dedication towards implementing practices for at-risk students in need of educational resources. One of their most outstanding signature curriculums is the Social and Emotional Program designed to help children and adults develop fundamental skills for life readiness.
  10. University of Texas at Austin High School: What makes this school so special? Their accessibility! UT High School is a public institution that offers virtual programs to support all students and staff throughout the state of Texas and the country! Students can enroll full time or part time in conjunction with their other school enrollments.
  11. Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders:  This is a public all-girls school inspired by the 45th Governor of Texas and fervent feminist Ann Richards. They focus on project-based learning as well as college readiness to provide economically disadvantaged young ladies a chance at nourishing their brilliant minds. 
  12. St. Austin Catholic School: This private religious school catered to PreK3-8th grade is located in the heart of the Austin area. They have a Whole Child Initiative that converges the Catholic faith with strong academic integrity to not only provide diverse education but proper skills for emotion regulation, stress management, & relationship building for the real world. 
  13. IDEA Montopolis College Preparatory School: Their college readiness curriculum is very proactive and really thinks about the future of their student body! They incorporate remedial courses into the curriculum so students have more time in college to focus on what they’re really passionate about. 
  14. Chaparral Star Academy: This open enrollment public charter school compacts a very vigorous college readiness program all in the span of four hours! They aim to maximize a student’s schedule to allot more time for extracurriculars. There’s a Morning session option as well as an Afternoon option! 
  15. Meridian World School: As a public, tuition-free charter school funded by state & federal income, Meridian invests in the student body beyond academics. Some special features of this institution include outdoor classroom space, natural playscapes, and sustainable practices so students can be encouraged to tune into their surroundings and recharge for optimal performance.

 

Be sure to check out all of these school’s websites for specifics on their personal missions, visions, and academic structures to craft them!

These days, there are many questions running through parents’ minds. Some of the biggest ones are centered around the re-opening. We have divided these questions (and some answers!) into the biggest areas:

Online or In-Person School?

Parents ask – should I let my child continue with online school? If so, where is a good local Austin online program they can enroll in?

If you end up choosing online education for the fall, and have a high school student in Austin, then we recommend checking out the University of Texas at Austin. They have a UT High School program that is currently celebrating 21 years of online education. They offer online school to all residents of Texas. You can enroll here. And, the best part is: it’s free. It’s completely online and a full course schedule. The program is funded by the great state of Texas.

There are just a few things you need to supply as the parent:

  • personal computer
  • reliable internet access
  • graphing calculator – this is important for most high school mathematics courses

Masks or No-Masks?

Should I send my child back to in-person education? Should they be wearing a mask? Will other students be masking?

This depends on the rules at your school and also on personal preference. Some families want to wait and see how COVID-19 evolves before they let their child go mask-less. But still others say they don’t believe in masks. One thing is for certain: the data overwhelmingly shows that masking reduces the spread of COVID-19. But we understand many families concern. Masking is really uncomfortable and many young kids are struggling with mental health issues due in part to social isolation – and likely the increase alienation and isolation of mask wearing itself. It’s harder to be social, make friends, and read facial expressions when everyone has a mask covering their face. It can be distracting and hard to learn. That’s why we think this is largely a matter of personal preference. You and your family has to weigh the costs and benefits.

It’s also important to think about and try to protect others. We are all Americans. And we are all in this thing together. Even if your family doesn’t have any serious illnesses in the family, that might not be the case for everyone. Some other kiddos parents might have cancer or diabetes. If you are concerned about them, then it might make sense to have your children wear a mask at school — in an effort to keep everyone safe. But we get it. I probably wouldn’t want my children to have to go through the burden of wearing masks at school. These are really tough and difficult times. If you want, you can always send us an email and we’d be happy to help try and think of a good solution of your and your family.

How can our Austin family make peace with all the uncertainty?

School years are supposed to be a time or renewal. A time when students get new shoes and load up on pens and pencils for the year. It is usually a time of hope and renewed faith. But this year many families are struggling to cope with the uncertainty of it all. The delta variant has complicated matters. Parents are worried about how safe school is right now. And students are worried about their social lives and their health. Many kids and students aren’t fully vaccinated—and some families have chosen to forego vaccination all-together.

There seems to be some generally good guidelines for kids these days … however politics and partisanship have clouded the issue. The simple advice is this: yes, your student should probably head back to school. They should wear a mask inside. And they should be vaccinated as soon as they can.

How can I help my children cope with their anxiety about returning to in-person school?

One thing you should encourage in your children is mental flexibility. A NYT article discussed this concept. The idea is based on research showing that people with higher levels of mental flexibility have fared better during the pandemic. Ok—you might say—that sounds great, but what the heck is “mental flexibility?” The idea is to take a more easy and “chill” approach to dealing with your thoughts & emotions. Don’t try to control them. Don’t get stressed about your own thinking. It’s fundamentally a meditative approach. You aren’t trying to control your thoughts. And, therefore, you aren’t allowing your thoughts to control you.

The idea is to encourage awareness over judgement. For example, let’s say you or your kiddo is having some intrusive thoughts constantly popping into their mind: “I’m sad” or “I’m worried.” Instead of getting mad at themselves for these thoughts, you can encourage their mental dialogue to immediately respond with: “Oh, that’s interesting. Just had that “sad thought” again.” Just note it. There it is again. Do you feel how there is less attachment with this?

If your kiddo is still struggling, we recommend trying some local Austin pediatric therapy or counseling centers. Here are a few we like:

Should I enroll my student in kindergarten?

Research shows that there has been a massive exodus out of kindergarten. Great reporting from the New York Times has shown that many school districts lost 20 percent or more of their students. Kindergarten is a time when kids are supposed to learn the fundamentals. But many families question how important it really is. That being said, the biggest decreases in kindergarten attendance were from the poorest neighborhoods and school districts.

Many parents have asked: what about virtual kindergarten? This is a fair question. But a significant body of research from Stanford has shown incredibly poor educational outcomes and results from online kindergartens. These kids may have learned how to operate a computer… but they didn’t improve their math & reading skills. Students who attended an online charter school suffered dramatically lower math & reading levels. And for students who attended an in-person charter school, their reading skills did improve at a somewhat similar rate to that of a traditional public school – but their mathematics did not. Their math skills really suffered. We might be a little biased here at Math Tutor Austin, but we believe that math is the single most important and fundamental skill that any student can master—whether you’re in kindergarten or college.

General Resources:

We really like the work of Dr. Pooja Lakshmin, MD. She is a medical doctor, practicing psychiatrist, and frequent contributor to the New York Times. She wrote this great article about how to handle anxiety about back-to-school decisions.

References:

Kashdan T.B., Rottenberg J. Psychological flexibility as a fundamental aspect of health. Clinical Psychology Review. 2010;30(7):865–878. doi: 10.1016/J.CPR.2010.03.001.