What’s a geometry set?

When I was a child, I received an unwanted present of a geometry set. Today I’ve got a calculator. So why am I still struggling? 

When I was a child, I received an unwanted present of a geometry set. Today I’ve got a calculator. So why am I still struggling?
I am sure I was given one of these as a child. Not that I would have used it much, of course, except maybe the small plastic ruler for the purpose of underlining things. As I recall, it was a long tin, rounded at each end, and filled with extraordinary objects, I had no idea what to do with them. There was a half-moon-shaped plastic thing called a protractor, a compass that had a spike at one end and couldn’t even tell you where north was, and something triangular, meant for measuring right-angles, I believe. There was also a rubber, to erase all those wrong answers to sums I never fully understood. And then the mini plastic ruler, mentioned earlier, that was so small there wasn’t much one could measure with it.
Having lost that very unwelcome birthday present years ago, I’ve just been into Rymans and purchased another of these mysterious tins of mathematical aids. It was recommended to me by my tutor at the City Lit, where I plan to study GCSE maths. I want to do teacher training so I have to get maths GCSE. I also bought a Casio calculator. ”It has to be Casio,” my 16-year-old daughter reliably informs me. "That’s the one they recommend for GCSE and A level."
"Well I’m not going to be at A level standard any time soon," is my quick reply.
And what an incredible object this calculator turns out to be. There’s actually a button to press for logarithms. I had to look them up in a small brown book, when I was a child. How times have changed. You can calculate x by the power of two with it, and do long division, long multiplication, long anything-you-like! Why do I need to learn maths when I have this amazing machine to do it all for me? Except for one tiny problem. I have no idea how to ask the calculator to do my sums. Which buttons do I press? Ah well, I guess I really do need to go back to maths school.
My campaign to pressurise Gemma in the run-up to her GCSEs continues apace. Last week I was standing outside her school with some of the other mums and one said that she’d told her daughter not to worry about the exams at all.
"I told her, it doesn’t matter what you get," she said proudly. "Do you know there are some mums who pressurise their children into getting high grades, I think it’s disgusting. It’s not fair on kids."
"I know, it’s not fair on them," the other mums chorused.
"Pressurising them to pass, how shocking, what dreadful pushy parents,” I agreed, guiltily, remembering that last week I made Gemma go into school, even though she was ill, because she had double-maths.
"You’ve got your GCSEs in less than two weeks!" I yelled. "Do you want to end up working in McDonalds?" I know I push her. Some of the mums around here are happy with the lives they have, they don’t want better for their children. That’s where I’m different. I want something better for Gemma. And I dearly wish I had had more help with maths, when I was her age.

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