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Math Jams

Sorry I’m so late to the party on this one, but I wanted to draw your attention to this NPR article from a couple of months back. It profiles the “Songwriter in Residence” program at the University of Tennessee’s National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (or NIMBioS if you feel like spitting a bunch of letters out of your mouth). The experimental program hires songwriters for one month stints at the Institute, during which time they work with researchers to develop two songs on current scientific/mathematical research. Here’s one of the resident’s performing a song on sexual selection:

While combining the arts with the sciences is nothing new, it’s cool to see a program embrace the intersection of these disciplines with such gusto. Of course, it can be difficult to squeeze educational content out of a song with a science focus, but . . . → Read More: Math Jams

Math in the News: Maybe the Sky Isn’t Falling, After All

Even though we’d like to accuse our math teachers of being more or less incompetent, there is at least one indication that math education in this country is making some progress. In particular, the results of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study shows American students have gained 11 points over their average performance in 1995. A comparison of US scores, along with an article describing the findings, can be read here.

With an international average of 500, American 4th and 8th grade students scored a respectable 529, on par with the Netherlands, Lithuania, Germany, and Denmark. As might be expected, however, we’ve still got a significant way to go when it comes to competing with other countries. Hong Kong made the top of the list, with a score of 607.

Of course, this data by itself doesn’t do much to explain what factors may be driving our improvement. . . . → Read More: Math in the News: Maybe the Sky Isn’t Falling, After All