Math Education Summit
A CLUB OF INVESTIGATION AND DISCOVERY
Interesting Projects in the Work - Applied and Fun
How does Garmin calculate the shortest distance between two points?
What's being sent, and why is it blocked?
How does frequency actually work?
The Koch Snowflake
I know the algorithm, but how do I find the formulas to plot the points?
I just jacked my car up. How did this happen and what's the relation to the hydraulic lift?
... and the Old Game of Pong
Wind Speed, and the Curvature of the Wing. I still don't like my understanding of "lift".
The Mixtures of Colors
be it Light, Paint, or Computers!
AND A REQUEST OF THE READER
(Click to open the spreadsheets - XP & Vista Compatible)
When you open these spreadsheets, there is an option at the top of the sheet regarding
SECURITY OPTIONS. You will need to click on the "Enable Macro" button for these programs to work.
THE CHAOS GAME
EARTH and the MOON!
THE TOPOGRAPHY of
THE MANDELBROT SET
SOME THOUGHTS - on Math, Science, Programming, and Critical Thinking
GOALS FOR THE YEAR - and a Challenge
MULTIPLE ENTRY POINTS:
There's an infinite number of things to study. Pick something that looks interesting and get going!
SMALL LEARNING CURVE:
Most software has a steep learning curve. Excel really does not.
Most people have Excel on their computers.
You know immediately if you've done something right - or wrong. Fix it and move on!
As there are 1,000 ways to skin a cat, and so too there are 1,000 ways to solve every problem.
You reach a point of success - or failure - and want to rest. Fine. Save your work. Recall the file. Improve the process.
The spreadsheet format allows you to breakdown calculations and processes.
RIGHT AND WRONG:
To get started doesn't mean it has to be exactly right - but it must be something to get you started!
MANY WAYS TO START:
Often, I see something neat and just want to understand it. Fine. Replicate it. Copy it. The key thing is to get started!
THE REAL WORLD:
Pascal's Principle. Astronomy. Apportionment. House Payments. Archimedes. The applications are right in front of us - and accessible to all!
THE "NEW" MATH:
Chaos Theory. Fractals. Simulation. Iteration. A "New Kind of Science". Strange Attractors. The "new math" is also right in front of us - and accessible to all!
Most math is within reach of most students. It's how to organize thoughts and data - to truly problem-solve - that is the result of doing the work!
A NEW LOOK AT MATH:
Simple logical thinking processes to understand not only math, but the world around us.
And effortlessly integrating this into the world around us - truly in an interdisciplinary format -
A CAPABLE MIND:
With the end-game not only authentic explorations into reality, but the realization we can do it!
Yes, the club will continue to meet throughout the summer. A few specific goals for the club:
1. get kids (and adults!) doing small things to get started.
2. have people work on a larger project of their liking. For example:
- The summer equinox is right around the corner. Graph weather data and sunrise / sunset.
- Tornado season has been a record season: get latitudes / longitudes of tornados and plot this;
- The Royals are off to a fast start. How fast?
- Every day, there really is something in the paper one could play with in Excel.
if you'd rather just play around and do something neat, that's (obviously) great as well!
3. Towards the end of the year, I'd like to have an =EQUALS= meeting dedicated to show-casing the work everyone has done. Something like this is a great chance not only to show off (and explain) what and how you did something, but see what other people did - and how they did it! Not a contest - but a celebration!
A Challenge for Everyone
A wish-list of parents regarding math is to "show how this applies in the real world". One goal of =EQUALS= is the creation of these booklets, ranging from 32-64 pages, dealing with a particular subject.
Apportionment? Steamships? Astronomy? Snowflakes? Yes - and much more.
And that's where you come in!
If you - or your company - is interested, let's talk about creating a booklet on what you do. Trust me, it does not matter what it is, we can use Excel to create a very interesting, educational, fun booklet!
But don't take my word for it. If you're at all interested, let's talk!
On Integrating Art and Science
“I have a friend who’s an artist and he’s sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say, “Look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree, I think. And he says - “you see, I as an artist can see how beautiful this is, but you as a scientist, oh, take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing.” And I think that he’s kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too …
At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension of one centimeter; there is also a beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structures. Also the processes, the fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting - it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: Does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which shows that the science knowledge only adds to the excitement and mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds; I don’t understand how it subtracts.”