Using the Rules

[Written Especially for Children]

After the holidays come school and lessons again. It was the first morning of a new term. In one of the junior classes were several children who had been moved up from the class below. During the second lesson, which was on arithmetic, two of the new classmates gave answers which made the other children laugh merrily. Nancy said that twenty with three more added would be two hundred and three! Leonard said that seven times five are twelve!

The teacher knew they were making mistakes because they were not using the right rules of numbers. She told them to think again. Nancy's second answer was promptly given correctly. Leonard found he must use the multiplication table; and when he said the seven times table right through, he found that seven fives are thirty-five. Then everyone was satisfied. The children saw how easy it is to get the right answer when the right rules are known and used.

Arithmetic is said to be a science, because it has rules which are always the same—rules of addition, rules of subtraction, and so on. One can prove that the rules are right by trying them. Three and three are six, and can never be anything else, however many times one takes three objects and puts another three beside them. The truths of arithmetic never vary; they are always the same.

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June 8, 1935

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