Math Proverb

A while ago I was trying to learn the quadratic formula for my algebra class. It was particularly hard for me to memorize the entire formula. There are a lot of variables and signs that are in the formula. I asked my mom for help remembering the formula. She then told me a pneumonic device that she used to learn the formula herself. She learned it from one of her math teachers. I have also heard this phrase from a number of different math teachers. There are slightly different versions of the phrase. “The negative boy couldn’t decide whether or not to go to the square party, but the square boy didn’t want to miss out on four awesome chicks and the party was all over at two am.” My mom has a degree in biochemistry and a Master’s degree in educations. She teaches math to high schoolers. She enjoys doing math puzzles and learning to code. As a result, she has collected an enormous amount of folklore. Predominantly from her students. Some of this folklore is unique to each niche while other pieces span multiple groups. This provides a unique perspective on folklore from these rather similar groups. I found this phrase very helpful for remembering all of the parts to the quadratic formula. It is much easier to remember this phrase than just the actual formula which is why is has been passed down from math teachers to students. For this piece of folklore, the math teachers are often the active bearers. The students who learn the phrase and master the formula often become active bearers when a teacher is not present. Students who do not know the phrase are the passive bearers.