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Keeping it Real: An Addendum

Last week, Dan Meyer invited the folks at Mathalicious to opine on the meaning of the phrase “real-world,” not as it applies to MTV shows (though that would make for a great conversation), but as it applies to questions asked of students in a math classroom. This week, we responded, continuing what I believe to be an important and interesting discussion about the nature of what we mean when we demand that mathematics be made more “real” for our students.

Most of my thoughts on the subject are encapsulated in the Mathalicious response. (Both articles come highly recommended, and what I say below may not make much sense if you haven’t read them first.) The conversation got me thinking, though, and so I’d like to offer my own personal aside/addendum.

When I began writing in this corner of the internet in the summer of . . . → Read More: Keeping it Real: An Addendum

Help Make it Rain for Math52!

Hi everyone,

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed some activity over the past week in regards to a new Kickstarter project, Math52. From the creators of Mathalicious, this campaign has set the ambitious goal of raising $164,000 to help transform the way mathematics is taught in our schools. Every week for a year, they will release a video aimed at exploring mathematics through everyday questions – the types of questions that will immediately connect with students, and help motivate them to understand the math required to provide a reasonable answer. But don’t believe me, check out this video!

The team has raised over $12,000 in a week. This is amazing, but it’s not quite on track for them to reach their goal. So if you give a hoot, please consider donating to this most worthy of causes. Even better, if you have some . . . → Read More: Help Make it Rain for Math52!

Shameless Self Promotion #3

Hi everyone,

A while back I was asked to contribute an essay to a book on mathematics and popular culture. I’m pleased to announce that this book is now available for purchase! There are some great essays in this book – I’ll let you decide how mine stacks up with the rest – and it also features a foreword by Keith Devlin, a Stanford University mathematician who you may know as NPR’s Math Guy.

I suggested they use my face instead, but they respectfully declined.

The price of entry is a little steep ($45), but if you’re someone interested in buying many copies (maybe you are a teacher, or maybe you just have a huge crush on David Krumholtz), I can get you a discount on bulk orders.

To whet your appetite, the title of my essay is Counting with the Sharks: Math-Savvy Gamblers in Popular Culture. Here’s the . . . → Read More: Shameless Self Promotion #3

Wedding Mathematics, Part 3

Today I would like to wrap up my series on mathematics and weddings (a series begun here and continued here) with a little advice for soon-to-be brides and grooms who are looking to integrate some math into their celebrations. If this describes you, then congratulations – not only on your upcoming nuptials, but also on the classy way you are looking to celebrate them.

For our own wedding, my bride and I decided it would be natural to incorporate some mathematics into the table numbers. There is some freedom in how one decides to do this. For example, we initially toyed with the idea of using numbers for the tables that were somehow significant to us and our relationship, but found it too difficult to come up with examples meeting this criterion. If one wants intrinsically interesting numbers, there are many examples among the whole numbers (I was particularly fond . . . → Read More: Wedding Mathematics, Part 3

Some Readership Statistics

This week marks the third anniversary of Math Goes Pop! As such, I thought it might be appropriate to engage in a bit of navel-gazing. But since I can gaze at my own navel whenever I please, I’d like to flip the script, as it were, and turn my attention towards the collective navels of my readership.

Our cat's third birthday is also this week. It is unclear which event he is celebrating, although the dilated pupils suggest he is celebrating a bit too hard.

I’d like to share with you some data on the geographic distribution of my US readers. While there is a large California bias, people from all over the country seem to have stumbled upon this corner of the internet, and have hopefully enjoyed their time here.

This represents you, gentle reader. Darker green means more viewers.

Of course, a California bias shouldn’t be . . . → Read More: Some Readership Statistics

Some Shameless Self-Promotion

Looking for a way to procrastinate before the three day weekend? Then feel free to check out this interview I gave to the Journal of Media Literacy Education. I gave the interview some time ago, but just happened to stumble upon it in published form this week. If you want some behind-the-scenes perspective into how this blog started, and my general philosophy behind writing it, this interview is a good place to start.

Hope the long weekend treats you well!

Math Clock Showdown

When shopping for gifts for someone, there are a few wells from which one frequently draws inspiration. A person’s favorite TV show, for example, or favorite band; such preferences can often provide good fodder for gift ideas. One’s career can also be included in this list – in my case, the result is that I am frequently the recipient of math-themed paraphernalia.

I’ve written before about my mixed feelings regarding math t-shirts. Today, though, I’d like to tackle a different type of gift: the math clock. This is inspired, in part, by a gift I received from my grandmother (bless her heart) over the holiday. The gift, pictured below, was an analog clock in which the numbers have been replaced by (what one would hope to be) mathematically equivalent expressions.

Figure 1: Clock with a black background.

Don’t tell her, but we haven’t yet put this clock up in . . . → Read More: Math Clock Showdown

Protractors for Some, Miniature American Flags for Others!

Last weekend I went to the Pasadena Flea Market, self-described as “one of the most famous markets in the world.” I had not anticipated on finding anything math related, and although I did stumble across an old adding machine, the most surprising find was what greeted me at the door. R.G. Canning produces the flea market every month, but I have no idea why they were giving away protractors. There’s furniture for sale, but I would think rulers would be the preferred measuring device when browsing through such items. Perhaps instead they thought that August would be a good month to get rid of a surplus of protractors, with back to school around the corner? Whatever the case, kudos to R.G. Canning attractions for their protractor giveaway bonanza.

Of course, I’m not sure how many protractors were actually taken. Unfortunately, most people didn’t seem interested. Their loss, I suppose.

. . . → Read More: Protractors for Some, Miniature American Flags for Others!