Students love it when we (teachers) make fools of ourselves. I know I will be a math teacher that will be remembered… if only for doing aerobic algebra and witty banter. Today I ended up teaching my beginning algebra class the difference between rays and lines using the Hustle.

Picture the scene: the class is learning the basics of the Cartesian coordinate system. I get the obvious question: “so what will we use this for?” So I explain how we had been working in one dimension, and we were moving to the next level. “Interpolation, that is connecting the dots. This is a called a segment… If we extrapolate, with an arrow, this is extending the points off to infinity. This is called a ray.”

I point off toward the ceiling.

“And if we extrapolate in **both** directions, we have a line.” I point my other hand toward the floor, now in a classic Hustle pose. “It’s stayin’ a-line, stayin’ a line. Ah-ah-ah-ah stayin’ a liiiiiine!” By now the entire class is laughing at me.

So… maybe I’m a stand up mathematician, but I know my students will remember that lines have rays in both directions.

John Travolta, eat your heart out.