If you needed to know the formula for the lateral area of a cone today because the world was temporarily without any Internet access or reference books, I hope you asked my daughter before lunch, by which time her short-term memory would have already been reformatted.

I, the proud owner of a D in High School Honors Geometry, helped her memorize this and 22 other geometric formulas for our state’s end-of-course geometry test that she took this morning.  A couple catchy favorites:

Lateral area of a pyramid:

L=1/2 lp

Area of a Trapezoid  

A=1/2 h(b1 +b2)

We used mnemonic devices that, due to the high number of different terms, were as far-fetched as the expectation that anyone memorize these formulas.

The trick for the total area of a prism, affectionately known as


went as follows:

You’re sitting at the breakfast table eating Total (T) with Light, an anime character she likes (L) and Shakespeare (2B), as in “to be or not to be”.

Equations with more terms required even more complicated stories and scenarios.

As a mom, you do what you can.