Tag Archives: mathchat

Math in the real world: Gardening

My uncle called me today, and asked me a math question. Normally, I get called and asked technology related questions, but occasionally people remember that I have a mathematics background and call me in to assist. My aunt wants to build a raised garden bed with a very particular shape. My uncle has been tasked […]

Mathematics in the real world: World Statistics

This is another post in my series on mathematics in the real world.     Thanks to a colleague of mine, I rediscovered the Google Public Data explorer. Within 10 minutes, I had constructed the above graph, which shows adolescent fertility rate for 15 to 19 year olds, versus life expectancy, measured against (look at […]

Math in the real world: Marshmallow constructions

This is another post in my series of posts on math in the real world. My wife, son, and I  went to a kids science event at SFU today, and at one table they had some marshmallow diagrams set up to demonstrate molecules. They let the kids play with the marshmallows and toothpicks, so my […]

Should we teach the standard algorithms for arithmetic?

Just posted this comment on this article lamenting the loss of the standard algorithms in Mathematics classrooms. Should we teach the standard algorithms for arithmetic? Absolutely, but they shouldn’t be the only algorithms kids learn. Why exactly is the ability to add, subtract, divide and multiply large numbers so critical? It seems clear to me […]

Mathematical Modelling for Real – Exploring Mathematics

This playlist has some very interesting videos from the Open University on their YouTube channel on the topic of mathematical modelling, and how it is used in different contexts.

Eric Mazur: Memorization or understanding: are we teaching the right thing?

I recommend this talk by Eric Mazur on why he switched his teaching from lecture based teaching to peer instruction based approach. It’s more than an hour long, but it really is worth it.   How does this change how we teach? How much of what students learn in our classes is actually learned? If a […]

I tried the Khan Academy

As an experiment, I started out the beginning of this year and tried flipping my classroom, but with a slight twist: I have extra instructional time, so students were to watch the instructional videos (from the Khan Academy and IBVodcasting.com) during classroom time. We spent about 1/3 of classtime using the Khan Academy videos and […]

When should we introduce kids to programming?

I recommend listening to this interview of Douglas Rushkoff on CBC Spark by Norah Young.   Rushkoff’s recommendation is that children should learn a little bit of a taste of programming right after they learn long division. His reasoning is basically this; once students see an algorithm like long division, and they learn how to make […]

Learning Origami

I started learning origami again this past weekend. So far I’ve built a swan, and a couple of paper airplanes that are more advanced than what I usually make but none of it has been particularly complicated to make. I’ve often thought that origami would be a fun hobby, but that I wouldn’t find much […]

Constructivist teaching is not “unassisted discovery”

I’ve been challenged recently to provide research which supports "unassisted discovery" over more traditional techniques for teaching math. This is not possible, as there are no teachers actually using "unassisted discovery" in their classrooms. First, it is not possible to engage in the act of "unassisted discovery" as a student. Just knowing the language to […]