So far, on this week’s math kick, we’ve looked at Algebra, variables, and constants. Today, we continue with an operation.

Turning, once again to MathIsFun.com, we find that an operation is defined as “a mathematical process,” with the most common being to multiply, divide, add, and subtract.

In our example, Y – 5 = 10, the operation is to subtract 5 from the value of Y.

The “-“, or minus sign, is an operator, which MathIsFun.com explains as “a symbol (such as +, −, ×, etc) that shows an operation.”

In our example, Y – 5 = 10, “-” is the operator, telling us that 5 is to be subtracted from the value of 5 Y.


Earlier this week, we considered tinder and kindling, stepping up the scale of combustible campfire material categories. Today, we look at the largest-sized component: fuelwood.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary quite simply defines fuelwood as “wood grown or used for fuel.” This compound word is thought to have come into use in the 14th Century.

Whereas with kindling, you are looking for twigs no larger than a pencil, with fuel wood, there isn’t an actual limit to how large a piece might be, but there are certainly practical limits. A general rule of thumb that we use in our outings is that a good size for fuel wood is about the thickness of your wrist, or, perhaps, your forearm if you’re building a larger fire. If you have pieces larger than this, they should probably be split down to a smaller size before being used to feed the fire. You’ll want your initial pieces of fuel wood to be smaller.

Where the tinder is used to alight the kindling, the kindling is used to start fuel wood on fire. Once a campfire is established, additional pieces of fuelwood can be used to sustain it.


Our math kick this week started on Monday, with Algebra, and continued yesterday, with variable. Today, we look at the constant.

MathIsFun.com informs us that, with respect to Algebra, “a constant is a number on its own, or sometimes a letter such as a, b or c to stand for a fixed number.”

In other words, it is a number whose value is known.

In our example from our post on Algebra, Y – 5 = 10, 5 and 10 are constants.

In our next post, we will finish looking at the different components of our example.


In our last outdoors post, we looked at tinder, one of a handful of components to successfully build a fire. Today, we consider kindling.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines kindling as “dry twigs, pieces of paper, etc., that burn easily and are used to start a fire.According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word came into use in the 1510s as a present participle from of “kindle,” which is said to have likely originated from Old Norse “kynda.”

From the definition is sounds like a synonym for tinder, but among those who practice the skill of fire building, it is considered one size up from tinder. Tinder is the first material to be ignited. The tinder then sets afire the kindling. Where examples of tinder might be dried grass or leaves, kindling is generally thought of as twigs – sticks no bigger around than pencil.

Going one step up the size scale of combustible materials, we find fuel wood, the subject of our next post on fire building.


Continuing on our math kick from yesterday, we’ll move on to the variable.

At MathIsFun.com, a variable is defined as “A symbol for a number we don’t know yet. It is usually a letter like x or y.”

In yesterdays example, Y – 5 = 10, Y is a variable.

In our next post, we will continue looking at the different components of our example.


This coming weekend, some members of the Family Trivium household will be going camping with a youth group, with the primary focus of the outing being to teach basic outdoor skills to the younger members of the organization. Among the skills being covered will be fire building. What’s a fall campout without a campfire?

There are a handful of components necessary to successfully build a fire. One, of them is tinder, which the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines as “dry material (such as wood or grass) that burns easily and can be used to start a fire.” Middle English in origin, it comes from Old English “tynder,” and first known to have been used in the 12th Century.

Mr. Family Trivium’s favorite tinder is dryer lint from loads of cotton. It isn’t something found in nature, but it’s very reliable, and makes a practical use of something which would otherwise be thrown away.

For starting charcoal, Mr. Family Trivium uses newspaper. He loosely stuffs wadded-up newspaper into the bottom of a charcoal chimney before loading the top with lump charcoal for grilling, or charcoal briquettes for dutch oven cooking.

If you’re testing out your wilderness survival skills, you’ll need to scrounge up whatever you can find, Dry grass or pine needles tend to work fairly well. We’d love to hear about your favorite tinder in the comments.


Lately, we regret the marked decrease in posting at FamilyTrivium.com. A new school year is in full swing and to say that we are busy is a definite understatement.

One of the many things keeping us busy is a marked increase in homework. In particular, Algebra has been consuming what used to be abundant free time.  However, one of the Family Trivium kids hopes to be a scientist and math is must for them.

According to MathIsFun.com, Algebra is a branch of math which “uses letters (like x or y) or other symbols in place of unknown values.”

For Example:

Y – 5 = 10

If we add 5 to both sides of the eauation we can determine the value of Y:

Y – 5 + 5 = 10 + 5
Y = 15

Put simply, in Algebra, we use what we do know to help us determine what we don’t know.

Going back to how to how Family Trivium started, at the spur of the moment, future posts will likely be shorter, like this one. We do this with the hope of actually making regular posts.