Last class, we wandered the maze, and calculated the missing sides and perimeters for five shapes (LCTs). Some groups got them all right, everyone got most of them right.

Even though adding feet and inches is easy on its own, juggling the sides of irregular shapes makes those calculations more difficult. The same is true about today’s lesson: adding/subtracting fractions to figure out how far a penny sized nail will go through the wall, or which drill bit you will need for making a countersink hole.

If you felt frustrated with last week’s green math problems, your feelings probably didn’t stem from the math itself, which was nothing more than punching in three numbers, the times and equal buttons on your calculator. More likely, the problem was finding the right numbers to punch. Not knowing how to find them in an online environment invariably leads to a lot of mouse clicking. How to “quit the clik,” and quickly find the right numbers?

The vocabulary of green math, like organic chemistry **—** the U-factors, heat capacities, spec sheets **—** is like trying to find the right number on a piece of paper written in a foreign language. But that’s exactly what trades math is, no textbook, feet on a worksite, hand on your toolbox, trying to use what’s under your helmet to figure out answers to questions barked at you by your foreperson, while the din of construction vibrates your very bones. Overcoming your frustrations, finding the right numbers, that alone will justify your journey’d six-figured salary. Trades math = career security, for you and your family. Trades math is real.