Today we all know that benefits of math are considerable. Math is not a subject one learns by reading the problems and solutions. American children have very little practice with multi_step problems, and very few opportunities to think their way in to and through problems that don't look like 'all the others'. With a packed curriculum and the increased emphasis on testing, our children are taught tons of procedures _ but procedures disconnected from when to use them, and why. Sustained thinking _ the key ingredient to math success _ is painfully absent in too many math classes.

First, the Basics! The x axis of a graph refers to the horizontal line while the y axis refers to the vertical line. Together these lines form a cross and the point where they both meet is called the origin. The value of the origin is always 0. So if you move your pencil from the origin to the right, you are drawing a line across the positive values of the x axis, i.e., 1, 2, 3 and so on. From the origin to the left, you're moving across the negative values of the x axis, i.e., η, θ, ι and so on. If you go up from the origin, you are covering the positive values of the y axis. Going down from the origin, will take you to the negative values of the y axis.

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