Saturday, January 2, 2016

Oh Hooray! Another Hour of Algebra (OHAHOA)

We celebrated the first OHAHOA Day in December 2015 during the Hour of Code Week at a primary school in Hong Kong. While the children gets to learn some very basic ideas of computer, we had a play-testing trial of the Algebra Maze game for a hundred and fifty Year-3 primary school students (2nd Grade in the US school system) as they not only had an hour of computer but merrily "Oh Hooray! Another Hour of Algebra (OHAHOA)" playing our Algebra Maze game (Facebook photos)!

OHAHOA is a wickedly funny mnemonic for remembering three formulas in trigonometry. The monograph "Twenty Years Before the Blackboard" contains some remarkably funny ones of OHAHOA:

- Oh heck! another hour of algebra    (that dates back to 1972 in the Dictionary of Mnemonics)
- Some of her children are having trouble over algebra    (that dates back to pre-1968)
- Sin - oh! Cos - ah! Tan  - oh/ah!  (1928)

All these, especially the first one, express a deep sense of frustration in learning mathematics. We hope that OHAHOA Day will evolve into multi-pronged learning: Learning to use a computer to learn mathematics. We want to turn frustration into fun.