Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunshine Blog Award

Two weeks ago I was nominated for a Sunshine Blog Award by a great teacher and user of technology, Kyle Pearce, over at the Tap Into Teen Minds blog. The requirements of this nomination are as follows:
  • acknowledging the nominating blogger(s)
  • share 11 random facts about yourself
  • answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you
  • list 11 bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little “link-juice,” and
  • post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and notify them.
Now although I do appreciate the idea of this nomination, I do feel that I cannot proceed without talking a bit about the mathematical implications of it. That is, its basically a base 11 pyramid scheme. To give you a sense of that, I traced back to see how far I could see where this came from. I got as far as the beginning of September before I got bored and here is the lineage

Kyle PearceCathy Yenca, Drew Frank, Seth Berg, Ben Gilpin, Brenda Giourmetakis, Lisa Friedman, Zachary Fenell, Emily Ladau, Missy Homemaker, Jodi (enjoying Life), Zan (Flourishing at Home), Mari Corona, Yaumara (Our Brown Eyed Girl),

So if you just consider since September that makes me the 15th level of this pyramid and if everyone previously did a blog post then that would be 1115 = 4,177,248,169,415,651 blog posts and even if only two people created a post at each level then that would be 215 = 32,768 blog posts. Either way the power of exponentials takes hold. Ah well, on to my task.

11 Random facts (in no particular order):

  1. I have a mathematical tattoo
  2. I have written for several math textbooks
  3. The fastest I have driven a car is 245 km/h
  4. I have a master's degree in Experimental Atomic & Molecular Physics
  5. My wife and I have been together for 28 years 
  6. It takes me (or more specifically, my son) over 3 hours to cut our lawn
  7. There are currently over 10 Christmas trees in my house
  8. As a child and with my own children I have driven from coast to coast in Canada and the US.
  9. I only get one haircut a year
  10. I own a Theremin
  11. I am the primary course designer for the Heart Breaker Challenge

Though Kyle didn't post specific questions for me I will just answer the questions that he did.

  1. What is your favorite movie of all time? Contact & Moneyball
  2. If you could have attended any concert anytime in history, what would it have been? The Clash in London (1980ish) 
  3. What do you do for fun? Hobby? Compete in Ironman Triathlons 
  4. What two guests would make the best comedic pair as co-hosts for the Oscars? Seth Rogan & Seth MacFarland 
  5. Cat, Dog or Goldfish? Neither
  6. How do you caffeinate? Too much Coke 
  7. Favorite twitter chat? #mathchat 
  8. Best place you ever vacationed? Lake Placid, NY 
  9. Best book you’ve read in 2013? The Signal and the Noise - Nate Silver
  10. Favorite television shows? Walking Dead, Big Bang Theory
  11. What is one thing you never/rarely share that you are exceptionally proud of? That I have as an email address (IE no numbers added to my name, I was the first David Petro to get a hotmail address)

Here are my Nominees for the Sunshine Blog Award (in no particular order). I realize that some of them don't really need any recognition from me (IE they are already popular) but I feel they are worth mentioning.

  1. @Joe_Sisco - Don't Fight the Tech, Use the Right Tech
  2. @MaryBourassa - Making Math Meaningful
  3. @jreulbach - I Speak Math
  4. @samjshah - Continuous Everywhere but Differentiable Nowhere
  5. @k8nowak - Function of Time
  6. @fawnpnguyen - Finding Ways to Nguyen Students Over
  7. @rogonic - Learn and Teach Statistics & Operation Research
  8. @mikeandallie - Mike's Math Page
  9. @edudemic - Edudemic
  10. @rmbyrne - Free Technology For Teachers
  11. @mathletepearce - Tap Into Teen Minds (I realize he nominated me but it's a great blog)

My questions for my nominees :

  1. How long have you been on Twitter?
  2. How many email addresses do you actively use?
  3. What's the name of the street you lived on when you were born?
  4. Coke or Pepsi?
  5. When did you first get an email address?
  6. First concert you went to?
  7. Mac or PC?
  8. Favourite Olympic Sport?
  9. Favourite Online News Portal?
  10. Name of a teacher who inspired you?
  11. Favourite Holiday Movie?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Math Links for Week Ending Dec. 27th, 2013

I really like Arthur Benjamin. Not just because he was a featured speaker at OAME 2011 (of which I was the Co Chair), but also because he is pretty good at mental computation and also thinks that knowing probability & statistics is more important than knowing calculus. And now he has done his third TED talk, this time on Fibonacci. And I know there are all kinds of videos on Fibonacci out there but I really like the way he connects the geometric to the numeric. A good video for anyone teaching about sequences or patterns.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MCR3U, MCF3M

You can never have too much data or too many good representations of data. Here you can find a collection of some of the best graphs dealing with behavioural science. And although its not new, probably my favourite is the one on water consumption in Edmonton during the 2010 Olympic gold medal game. This is certainly good for any classes looking at interpreting graphs.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MCF3M, MDM4U, MAP4C

Need some data on linear relations? Want to use technology in your classrooms? Have a video camera of some sort? Been to an airport? If you have answered yes to any of these questions then take a look at this link where someone was bored at the airport and collected some simple linear data. This data exists all over (not just airports) and this post shows how you can use the Tracker software to analyze any motion.
Curriculum Tags: MFM1P, MPM1D

More great data visualizations that could be called art.
Curriculum Tags: MDM4U

And if you haven't had enough data on this week's links, how about more evidence that the up and coming field to get into is data scientist.
Curriculum Tags: MDM4U

In grade 9 we have to connect the algebraic form of Pythagorean Theorem to the geometric. This video tries to do just that. Thanks to Corrie Silva for this one
Curriculum Tags: MPM1D, MFM1P

A relatively new video from Vi Hart on logarithms. I totally love the way she starts with simple addition and works her way to logarithms. At first you don't see the connection but I think the payoff at the end is worth it.
Curriculum Tags: MHF4U

Oh BatDad, you are funny.
Curriculum Tags: All

I have spoken a few times over the last few weeks about Simon Singh and his new book about math and the Simpsons. Here he is on Numberphile to talk about it (and Futurama)
Curriculum Tags: All

Everyone needs a bit of trig humour.
Curriculum Tags: MPM2D, MFM2P, MCR3U, MCF3M, MBF3C

Surely we can come up with a nice topical question on percents given this holiday sale
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MFM1P, MPM1D

And finally something to put you in the holiday spirit. I wish I was smart enough to know if it is correct though.
Curriculum Tags: All

Friday, December 20, 2013

Math Links for Week Ending Dec. 20th, 2013

I am always looking for a good set of data. And this time why not make it holiday themed. That is, what is the probability that there will be snow on Christmas? Based on 30 years of historical data, NOAA has created a probability map of snow. Its important to not confuse this with a forecast. Since its based on historical data, that is why its just a probability map. But now to the data. All of it was from this database. Have fun.
Curriculum Tags: MDM4U

I totally forgot about Sketchpad's feature that allows you to embed sketches on webpages (I used to give workshops on it many moons ago). That being said, here is a nice open ended question dealing with linear equations. Well done.
Curriculum Tags: MPM1D

Perfect for composite volume.
Curriculum Tags: MPM1D, MFM2P

This is interesting. Domain and range are those things that sometimes we gloss over (perhaps because they are so abstract), but take a look at this strategy to help students understand how to define them. As it is with many things, sometimes if we trick kids we can get our points across more effectively. In this case the tweak is to incorporate a toy and a scenario to help kids visualize domain and range properly.
Curriculum Tags: MCR3U, MCF3M

I got a mention on the Math Disk blog. Just sayin.

I have never heard of shape or figure of constant width. At least never thought about it in terms of something other than a circle. But Numberphile has. And they are more than happy to tell us about it.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8

I thought this was a nice graphical representation of some crazy weather data.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8

I like this one as a catalyst to talk about the idea of inflation. Could be in a data management class or even a grade 11 class when dealing with the idea of compounding or exponential growth (I guess MAP4C too for that matter)
Curriculum Tags: MCR3U, MCF3M, MBF3C, MAP4C, MDM4U

Friday, December 13, 2013

Math Links for Week Ending Dec. 13th, 2013

A few weeks ago I mentioned the site and mentioned that I would be revisiting it. The site is developed for students and parents but I think its important for us to know what is there to let them know. There is mention of older resources but I want to focus on some of the new stuff in the Games section. One that I think could have a lot of traction is the card matching game. Basically its the classic flip cards over to make matches but there are different versions for different topics. Currently there are versions for whole numbers, integers, fractions, linear growing patterns and trig functions. Give them a shot. Note that you can even download these apps to embed in your own sites or Notebook files.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MPM1D, MFM1P, MCF3M, MCR3U

A few weeks ago I mentioned that Simon Singh had a new book out about how math is infused in The Simpsons and Futurama. Listen here to an interview with Simon on what is in the book.
Curriculum Tags: All

Thought I would just quickly mention this. There is a movie being made about the life of Ramanujan. He was the Indian prodigy that was self taught and was around earlier the 20th century (Simon mentioned him a bit in the above piece. So look forward to this when it comes out.
Curriculum Tags: All

It is always neat to find real world examples of math showing up. Here is one from the fashion world and patterning. Thanks to @bucharesttutor for this one.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8

"It's funny because it's true"- Homer Simpson. On the Math with Bad Drawing blog a great post about actual (or simulated) headlines from the world and what the actual  interpretation is (with bad drawings of course). One of my favourites: Actual Headline "Market share of electric cars triples" Interpretation from the math world: "Market share of electric cars rises to 0.4%". This is a perfect starter for conversations in any data management class when you have to talk about media literacy.
Curriculum Tags: MDM4U

So earlier last week my friend Mark sends me an email asking me if I could solve for these angles. Looked like a harmless question. Turns out it wasn't solvable. After crunching the algebra and continually getting 0 = 0, I resorted to some sort of visual proof. Then I thought of trying out Math Disk since now I had a reason to. So here is my sketch. See if you can use it to determine why its not solvable.
Curriculum Tags: MFM1P, MPM1D

I like this app for working with three term equivalent ratios. Its kind of contrived but I think its kind of interesting how it tries to relate the "developing" to the ratio. If you search around this set of apps from Alberta Math you will probably also find some other stuff you like.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MFM1P, MPM1D

I never miss an opportunity to plug the Museum of Math. I hope that one day when I get back to NYC I will be able to go there. But in the mean time I will have to settle for articles about all the cool "Mathie" things they do in the community. In this case, its about Pythagorean theorem and the famous Flatiron building to celebrate Pythagorean day (5-12-13 hmm when will the next one be?). I didn't realize there was such a connection to that building. You can read about that here. Thanks to Mark Esping for this one.
Curriculum Tags: Gr8, MPM1D, MFM1P, MPM2D, MFM2P

I really like this video on conditional probability from Art of the Problem. I am a big fan of tree diagrams and this does a nice twist on the coin flipping problem by introducing unfair coins.
Curriculum Tags: MDM4U

And why not one more from Art of the Problem. This time on standard probability
Curriculum Tags: MBF3C, MDM4U

So my friend Michele pulls out this holiday Toblerone and its a hexaganol prism. "Sweet" I think and snap a quick picture and post it on Twitter. Low and behold, seconds later its retweeted by a tweet-bot @Hexagonbot "Hexagonbot is an automated hexagonal information service brought to you by the Global Hexagonal Awareness Project. ". Ha ha, the global Hexagonal awareness project. Nice. Turns out they have a site devoted entirely to hexagons and the bot scours Twitter for key words relating to hexagons and automatically retweets them. They are up over 320,000 tweets, all about hexogons.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8
Here is a neat little manipulative you could make when dealing with writing numbers in expanded form.
Curriculum Tags: Gr8

What would the Venn diagram be that went along with this image?
Curriculum Tags: MDM4U

Friday, December 6, 2013

Math Links for Week Ending Dec. 6, 2013

OK, so I am not going to say much about the features of Math Disk except to say watch the video below and try not to be impressed with all it does. Ok, so maybe I will mention some of the features. Algebraic and numerical calculations, function and statistical plots, probability, dynamic geometry and 3D vector plots (amazing stuff ripe for MCV4U) and even physics simulations (you can actually play angry birds). There is an iPad version as well. Though it doesn't have all the functionality, by creating an account on your computer, you can open and manipulate any files on the iPad. That being said, because it does so much, there will be a bit of a learning curve to figure out how to use it. There are a number of support articles and of course there are a pile of how to videos. My only complaint about these is that there doesn't seem to be any verbal instructions. They just show you how to do things. So when I was trying to make a dynamic plot, I found it hard to just watch what they were doing and mimic it on my screen without watching a few times. But once I got the gist of what to do the graphs and sketches started to flow. And its totally free. Go ahead, try to not be impressed by this. Thanks to Free Technology for Teachers for pointing this out.
Curriculum Tags: All

The second of two graphing applets today is called Plotly. Now I know in Ontario we have both Fathom and Tinkerplots to use freely at home or school and many of us also have Excel and possibly Google Docs now but this package does just about every type of graph relatively easily. That is something that none of the above mentioned can do. Excel is pretty good at making line, bar and circle graphs (same with Google Docs) and Fathom and Tinker plots are great for graphing microdata (scatter plots, histograms, box plots and dot plots). But Plotly does them all. Histograms, box plots, bar graphs, line graphs and my new favourite: heat maps among others. I do find it interesting that circle plots are curiously omitted (probably a nod to those statistics folks who think they are among the most misused and awful types of graphs). All of the graphs have mouse over features and can be customized. As an added bonus it seems to work fine on an iPad (sans mouse over features) and you can even import your data from Dropbox or Google Drive. I suggest looking gallery to see the scope of what can be done and at the tutorials to master any of the idiosyncratic features of making these graphs. And of course, don't forget to create an account to save all of your graphs.
Curriculum Tags: MDM4U
Depending on how anal you are about pseudo random generators (purists among you will no doubt harp that any electronic random generator is not, in fact, random - and you would probably be right), you may think this is cool or useless. Flip a day has one purpose. To flip a real coin once per day and post the result. That's it. As of today they are at 220 flips. You can follow them on Twitter and download the csv file as well.
Curriculum Tags: MDM4U
If you haven't used Dragon Box, I think you are missing out. I truly believe it is one of the best games out there that actually teaches a math concept. It runs on multi platforms and isn't that expensive. But how would you actually use it in a classroom to teach solving equations? Thanks to Tap into Teen Minds you are one step closer to figuring that out. Thanks Kyle
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MPM1D, MFM1P, MPM2D, MFM2P

Do you need an example of something big to give some meaning to number sense calculations? Well how about info around the largest container ship ever built? Here are some stats over 1600ft long (longer than the Empire State Building is tall), 600 000 tonnes. It is basically a floating liquifying natural gas (FLNG) facility that mines, processes and can store up to 3.9 million tonnes of liquid natural gas each year. To get a sense of how much use out of that gas consider that the average family might use about 2000-3000 cubic metres of natural gas during the year (in gaseous form - click here to help convert that)
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8

I love this "proof without words" of the area of the circle and how it can be connected to the area of a triangle. You probably could even get into some calculus talk in terms of infinitesimal slices of a circle to I guess
Curriculum Tags: Gr8, MPM1D, MFM1P