Monthly Archives: July 2011

Sharing ideas about math in the real world

I’m very interesting in finding ways mathematics is present in the world outside of the classroom, which I’ll call the "real world." Obviously what students do in the classroom is part of the real world, but too often in math instruction school math is completely separate from the contexts kids experience in their day to […]

Math in the real world: Randomness in nature

This is another post in a series I’m doing on math in the real world. View all pictures   Nature has lots of things which look random, but which are influenced by environmental factors. For example, when pine cones fall from a pine tree, they will tend to fall in a ring around the tree, […]

Math in the real world: Architecture and Construction

This is another post in a series I’m doing on math in the real world. View all pictures   The amount of mathematics required to design, plan, and construct one of these houses is amazing. The plans have to be done in scale, and the building is often shown in both perspective and orthogonal views. […]

Books Every Math Teacher Should Read

This was originally posted at the Elevated Math blog, and I’m reposting it here. I’ve been doing a lot of reading this summer, and I’ve come across a few books in the past few months that I think every math educator should read. A Mathematician’s Lament by Paul Lockhart “I don’t see how it’s doing […]

A practical way to reduce teacher burn-out: Say thank you

Dr. Adam Grant shares an easy way to reduce teacher burn-out. We need to help teachers realize the work they do makes a difference in the lives of their students. He shares a story about how a university call centre saw much reduced stress rates simply because they heard the five minute story of a […]

The quiet revolution in education

(Clay Shirky: How social media can make history) While education reformers like Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, Bill Gates, and others will tell you that education is stuck in the status quo, right underneath their noses there is a quiet revolution occurring in education. The revolution is happening through social media. Every day thousands of hours […]

Math in the real world: Trees

This is another post in a series I’m doing on math in the real world. View pictures     The growth of trees is actually a fairly mathematical process that at least involves fractal theory, graph theory, and topology. You can actually generate very realistic looking trees using a computer. See the video below for an […]

Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world

Kevin makes some great points in this TED talk, and his talk certainly speaks to the need to teach an understanding of how algorithms work. In my opinion it is important to teach the study of algorithms explicitly, rather than implicitly through just memorizing them. We should focus more on how algorithms are used and […]

Math in the real world: Which piece of cake?

This is the second in a series of posts on math in the real world. View pictures     Which piece of cake should you choose? This is a problem that often happens at birthday parties. Should you pick a corner piece, a side piece, or one of the middle pieces? The answer depends on […]

Math in the real world: Carnival probability

This is the first in a series of posts on mathematics in the "real world." View pictures     Should you pay to play these games? Aside from the obvious answer, that these games are fun, and so whether or not you win, the games have an intrinsic "fun" value, one wonders how fair these […]