I get night terrors about math. When I took my GMAT exam, I got a deck of flashcards for the multiplication tables. It was officially time to learn them. Approximately 20 years later than I should have learned them. I’m sorry Mr. Moehnke!
Then I took the Land, Lots of Land: Learning the Ins and Outs of Land Records with Kevin L. Meyers at Angelina College Genealogy Conference in Lufkin, Texas in 2010. Part of the class obviously included land platting because the list of supplies included a protractor and graph paper. No fear at that point, it was just school supply shopping. And what genealogist doesn’t like school, ahem, office supplies? The platting exercise there rapidly became a dim memory, like all my knowledge of math and math related “stuff.” My usual response, which has worked for me (but not so much for my mother) for the last 30+ years: “when will I ever need this?”.
I need it for Lesson 9 of the NGS-HSC. I’m not done with this lesson because I still need to make the time to visit the state repository for the second assignment. But, for now, I’ll share with you my recommendations about assignment 1 and using the dreaded protractor.
First of all, practice using the example in the lesson until you get it perfect. Really, really, really.
When you use your protractor (which I will occasionally call a compass just because, well, see the second paragraph), I have to say I like this one:
rather than this one:
Yes, they do the same thing but somehow I like it better. I don’t know.
There’s two rows of numbers on the straight edge, inches and centimeters. OK, I’m solid so far. The curved part also has two numbers. Basically the same 180 degrees starting at opposite ends. Choices?? You can Google anything, ya know. Some school (as in maybe middle school) website said to think about the angle to make sure you’re using the right row. Doh! So if it’s 28 degrees but the angle I’m trying to draw is obtuse, then I’m being obtuse and using the wrong row. Ahhh, math clarity. (No worries, I’ll explain. The acute angle is less than 90 degrees, 90 degrees being the angle that makes the corner of a box or an “L,” and obtuse is greater than 90 degrees.)
Draw away! The instructions say to label the North, South, West, and East edges of the graph paper. I also labeled the lines and the landmarks on each corners (e.g., trees, corners of others’ property) per the steps in Locating Your Roots (affiliate link) by Patricia Law Hatcher. Yes, there are ways to double-check your assignment with free online tools but you can do it! Don’t check the answer until you’ve made some good attempts!
So there’s my shameful math secret exposed for the entire world to see simply because I want you to succeed with Lesson 9.