You know what’s often missing from math class? Yes, candy bars, but even more important than that: coherence.

Math class shouldn’t be a mishmash pile of facts, thrown together haphazardly, like an academic version of *The White Album*. It should be a perfectly interlocking tower of truths, climbing upwards with singular purpose—an academic *Sgt. Pepper* or *Abbey Road*.

A good class isn’t a greatest hits record. It’s a concept album.

In that spirit, I’ve been taking each topic in the secondary math curriculum—algebra, geometry, calculus, etc.—and trying to boil it down to its one-word essence. Here are the rules of the game:

*You must choose a single word to complete the sentence, “[Branch of math] is the mathematics of _____.”*

For example, you might say, “Topology is the mathematics of dinosaurs,” or “Category theory is the mathematics of abstraction,” or “Combinatorics is the mathematics of sadness.” (To be…

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