November 25, 2010

The Recreational Mathematician

It is 8:20 pm, Thanksgiving night.  My turkey fattened family - yes, every last one of them - has been whisked away into an L-tryptophan dream state.  What am I doing?  Well, I'm reading math blogs, of course!  Is that terribly sad?  Be kind and tell me it's not even if you think it is. 

But in all seriousness, I get such a rush out of seeing novel ways to teach mathematics.  I suppose that while my kids are 3,4, & 7 it may be a bit less than productive for me to wile away the hours investigating the best method for teaching the quadratic equation, but it's who I am and I have just had to learn to live with myself!

Tonight I have landed on some doozies in the land of math blogs!  A few of which have tossed around the term "recreational mathematician."  I instantly identified with that term and felt quite pleased, at the end of a long day in an apron, to find my diagnosis and my people right here online.  Perhaps a support group is in order?  But then I wonder, does that term only apply to people who have a knack for solving complex math problems or can that apply to a subset of dorks like me who get a thrill from locating math in odd places and studying how to deliver it in a way that kids retain it?  I hope they'll accept me into they're little club!  I mean, how stiff can the competition be in such a homely crew?  Right?

Anyway, now I'd like to pass on a few of my fave finds of the day!  If you love math even a little, check them out.  You know?  Even if you think you hate math you should check them out because maybe with these great links you can finally make peace with your old nemesis and start passing the math love on to your kids!  Go ahead!  Give it a try!!!

1.  A fabulous and entertaining math lecture on the problems in math text books can be found here.  How often do you get to hear a reference to the show Two and a Half Men in a math lecture, anyway?  I mean, come on!  This guy is right on and if you love the lecture, you'll love my #2 favorite math find of the night!

2. The blog of the math teacher who presented the above lecture is chock full of examples of how to turn an ordinary, and quite pointless textbook question into a discussion starter.  Kind of like jumper cables for your brain!  Love it!  And once you see where he's going with his method, you can apply it to all other manner of subjects!

3.  Project Euler is a seriously odd, seriously fascinating site that has, for the moment, 311 unique math problems that are as random as a penguin in Hawaii!  In exactly 1 day, 21 hours, and 58 minutes, they will have problem number 312 posted!  Ha!  Anyway, the site claims to be geared towards students who are not fulfilled with school math and want more, as well as adults who are looking to expand and refresh skills, and  professional mathematicians who want to keep their mind on the cutting edge.  There are all levels of questions and many will make you run for your teenager's math book for a refresher, but all the better!  Give it a try!

4.  Creating Balance in an Unjust World Conference is an intriguing conference that links math education to social justice.  I'm not sure I fully  understand it, but I have to admit that the correlation gets me all excited!  There are down-loadable activities that were presented by individual and group at the conference.  One, I'm proud to say, was submitted from MTSU - Goooooo Big Blue!!!  Like I said, I don't think I fully grasp what's going on with this conference, but I plan to spend another holiday evening investigating further.  What a unique connection to draw.  Right?

5.  TEDx NYED  I love me some educational theory!  So, admittedly, this isn't exclusively math oriented, but  still, I found it tonight during my side-by-side marathons of all you can eat spinach balls and all you can absorb math sites!  Coming up on March 5th, 2011, you can tune in to this live event from the comfort of your laptop and listen to a wide array of lectures from top educators in New York.  It's licensed from the people who brought us the TED conferences!  Who doesn't love those?  Anyway, I'll be clearing my calendar to sit infront of the computer for the day and soak in the teaching goodness! 

Well, that's all for tonight, folks!  Perhaps tomorrow I'll get around to sharing pictures from our lovely Thanksgiving dinner.  But for tonight I'm heading off to slip into my own turkey dreamland and I'll be smiling while I dream about how to quickly find the sum of all natural numbers that are multiples of 3 and 5 below 1,000.  Ahhh...

1 comment:

  1. Big Blue is the machine that's really good at chess, right? :)


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