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Old 06-05-2009, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, so I am in a math class that is supposed to be for people who don't like math. So it is supposed to be a general review type of thing.

Well, back when i was in school ( a very loooong time ago) they did the ole drill and kill where you just learned a few formulas and memorized them and did pages and pages of worksheets. You know, where you don't really learn anything.

Well, they are trying out something new at my school and the poor fools in this class are the guinea pigs. They are trying to make us learn! And make math interesting and thought provoking. So this class is kicking every students booty!

We all have to do a project where we show the class/teach the class something cool about math. He said just to make it fun like if you are good at rubiks cube then show the class how that works. He is a true math geek and wants us "creative non math types" to show him some fun.

someone else did a project with the website howmanyofme.com
where they put in all our names to show that in our class of odd names (we have very very unique names in the class) 1/3 of the class was the ONLY person with that name.

So i need ideas of cool things about math. I would love some beautiful math is art thing, or some cool statistical thing, or a fun and interesting math game etc.

So, please give me some cool ideas for this project. I am out of the house for the day so I won't be able to respond till tonight. Thanks
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Old 06-05-2009, 05:57 PM
 
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You can get some ideas from these sites:
http://mathartfun.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/index.html
http://www.popsci.com/scitech/galler...rt-and-origami
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Old 06-05-2009, 07:09 PM
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Recreational Mathematics:

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/topics/...thematics.html

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Old 06-05-2009, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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cool - i will check those sites out
thanks
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:45 PM
 
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Do you know/are you willing to research anything about music? It has a lot of math.

Amy loving DH 5/04, raising DD 2/05 and DS 11/09; missing my mom& my babies 6/07, 12/07; and on the side
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It has to be something i can explain easily and quickly that is also hands on. We only have a short time to do the presentation (like 20 minute max) and all the other math dummies have to "get it"

Seriously - this is the class all the counselors tell people to take if they score super low on the math entrance exams or get bad grades in math.
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Old 06-05-2009, 11:17 PM
 
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do you have any hobbies? - i bet you i can relate math to almost anything you find interesting...

you can pick a dice game or card game and do some simple probabilities for strategies...

you can knit, or craft things about mobius bands or klein bottles - those are really cool surfaces...

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Old 06-05-2009, 11:33 PM
 
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I know someone taking a life-skills math class at the high school level. They are doing things like "how much paint/tile would it take to redo a bathroom sized xx by yy" and figuring out withholding tables for employment taxes. Other ideas:
~the math of mandalas
~pyramids and the math of architecture
~driving math (charting a road trip! milage/time/figuring for traffic/cost of gas)
~cooking math, figuring out ratios of spices or, if you are a baker, how much baking soda or yeast something needs
~gardening math, geometry of planting seeds
~ebay math! working the cost of taking/posting pics, setting up a paypal account, storing item, shipping item, etc
~rhythm and rhyme of poetry and iambic pentameter
~the math involved in your fav sports stats
~grocery store math. If it takes you 2 hours every sunday to cut out coupons and save $20/week, but you make $25/hr optional overtime, how is your time better spent?

Math is everywhere!

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Old 06-06-2009, 02:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It has to be something "exciting" not a "practical" application. I was thinking of doing some electrical stuff with Ohms law etc but he said that was too "mathy."

He wants something exciting and creative and artsy etc. Like fibbonacci and flowers. I am looking at some of the math games and puzzles and those might work.
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Old 06-06-2009, 03:16 PM
 
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So the prof is perpetuating the myth that math is boring and to be hated? At least useful math? Useful is boring? Understanding Ohm's law is boring? Excuse me? I like knowing Ohm's law. It keeps me from getting killed with fixing something electrical. I also find it really fun and interesting to play with electrical sets. Understanding the mathematic/physics behind it makes it interesting because I can plan more effectively.

Sorry, I dislike what's being taught. Math is a language. It is an efficient way to communicated complicated information, and draw logical conclusions.

What kind of math have you covered in this class?

There are lots of examples of Fibonacci series in art. My version:
http://geofizzgirl.livejournal.com/2006/01/18/

Patterns, and symmetry: Anything from Escher, and there are many examples out there of ways it's used in nature: you could talk about why some crystals/gemstones appear cubic (4 sided) or hexagonal (6 sided), but never 5 sided. You can't tesselate a pentagon, and neither can nature. On a larger scale, there's things like Devil's postpile also making nearly perfect hexagons.

Oragami -- fractions, topology, symmetry

I like Dawningmama's suggest:
"~driving math (charting a road trip! milage/time/figuring for traffic/cost of gas)" Talk about the traveling salesman problem.

You could talk about how you can *know* you can never lose at tic-tac-toe.
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post
So the prof is perpetuating the myth that math is boring and to be hated? At least useful math? Useful is boring? Understanding Ohm's law is boring? Excuse me? I like knowing Ohm's law. It keeps me from getting killed with fixing something electrical. I also find it really fun and interesting to play with electrical sets. Understanding the mathematic/physics behind it makes it interesting because I can plan more effectively.

Sorry, I dislike what's being taught. Math is a language. It is an efficient way to communicated complicated information, and draw logical conclusions.

What kind of math have you covered in this class?

There are lots of examples of Fibonacci series in art. My version:
http://geofizzgirl.livejournal.com/2006/01/18/

Patterns, and symmetry: Anything from Escher, and there are many examples out there of ways it's used in nature: you could talk about why some crystals/gemstones appear cubic (4 sided) or hexagonal (6 sided), but never 5 sided. You can't tesselate a pentagon, and neither can nature. On a larger scale, there's things like Devil's postpile also making nearly perfect hexagons.

Oragami -- fractions, topology, symmetry

I like Dawningmama's suggest:
"~driving math (charting a road trip! milage/time/figuring for traffic/cost of gas)" Talk about the traveling salesman problem.

You could talk about how you can *know* you can never lose at tic-tac-toe.
I think the problem is it is his first time teaching this class, using this book, and he has to follow the outlined curriculum. So he is fumbling with it. He has done some cool stuff with us like fibonacci nin, estimation of how many golf balls would fit into the classroom etc.

I think the crystal thing would be cool too and interest people. The people in this class are all terrified of math and the book is really hard to use for folks who have never really *learned* how to think mathmatically. Even dh who is in mensa and awesome at math has trouble following the book. The book tries to make math fun and interesting but is really hard to follow and has many tricks and riddles etc.

This http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/144097 was one of the questions we had for homework
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:44 PM
 
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are you using "heart of mathematics" by any chance?

has anything sparked your interest? i would either pick something you've done in class that you thought was cool and look at some of the harder problems in that section and explore those. or pick something in the news that has math, or pick something you love and find the math that is in there.

What do YOU enjoy?

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Old 06-06-2009, 10:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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are you using "heart of mathematics" by any chance?

has anything sparked your interest? i would either pick something you've done in class that you thought was cool and look at some of the harder problems in that section and explore those. or pick something in the news that has math, or pick something you love and find the math that is in there.

What do YOU enjoy?
ha! you guessed it - i am pretty sure that is the book.

I like dancing and sewing and reading. We have to use something not in the book. I am looking through all these ideas so I can present a few to him and see what will work.
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:28 PM
 
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How about some cool theorems from Algebraic Topology? There are a couple of them that are easy to give examples of and that can kind of blow peoples minds. For example, a consequence of the Borsuk-Ulam theorem is that there is always a pair of antipodal points on the surface of the earth with equal temperatures and equal pressures. Or the Brouwer fixed point theorem that has as a consequence that a stirred cup of coffee always has a point in it that remains in the exact same place it was in before the coffee was stirred. Or the Hairy Ball Theorem that says that you can't comb the hair on a call without creating a cowlick.

The theory behind these is pretty complicated at least to someone who has not had any formal mathematical training, but the consequences are cool and interesting

Beth

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Old 06-07-2009, 02:22 AM
 
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I venture to check out the book Algebra Unplugged on a site like Amazon and then view people's 'list manias' to see what else pops up.
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Old 06-07-2009, 02:30 AM
 
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Can you do some sort of quilting/geometry thing, or is this class strictly algebraic? My mom is a fantastic quilter, and totally rocks the house in geometry, maybe because of all of the practice through quilting. You mentioned you like to sew--something with patterns, making clothes, estimating amount of fabric needed?
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Old 06-07-2009, 04:29 PM
 
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ohh yes... i know fractals are in the book, but maybe you can do something with fractals and quilts.
http://curvebank.calstatela.edu/vent...ntersquilt.htm

there is also a theorem in Algebraic topology that says you cannot make a globe/sphere with a 2 dimensional piece of fabric. Anotherwords, no 2D map is a perfect to scale representation of the earth.

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Old 06-07-2009, 11:42 PM
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there is also a theorem in Algebraic topology that says you cannot make a globe/sphere with a 2 dimensional piece of fabric. Anotherwords, no 2D map is a perfect to scale representation of the earth.
This would be a very cool project! Easy to research and you could give an interesting talk about the different attempts to provide a two-dimensional approximation of the three-dimensional surface of the globe and the distortions involved in each type of projection.

You could bring up some interesting questions about the potential implications for issues of public opinion. (e.g. If your country looks bigger on the map than its actual area would suggest, do you overestimate its importance? By compromising on oceans and making them look smaller than they are, do we risk artificially diminishing their importance in our minds? Etc.)

Wikipedia's pages on this are a decent starting point:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map_projection

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercator_projection

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Old 06-07-2009, 11:56 PM
 
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practical uses of math can be fun! in fact i thought i hated math and was bad at it until i took a practical math class in HS. now i am working on going back to school for a degree in business finance! practical can be fun and exciting esp. to those of us who don't like doing things just for the heck of it! hrmph!!

i was going to recommend teaching them about the Stocks and Bonds which imho are quite exciting .. and hands on.. but i don't know if that would apply.

erm... you know those pictures that you stare at for a long time until you see something else? is there a mathematical way to explain that?

how about poetry... like iambic pentameter or haikus? these are based on the number of syllable per line and such.. thats math related.

perhaps you could research code breaking and then see if they can break different codes and then tell them which ones you used and a little about them.
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Old 06-08-2009, 12:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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oh my goodness - well my math lack is showing. All this stuff is cool but I don't think i will be able to learn it well enough to explain it efficiently. I did find one thing on # guessing that i think i *might* be able to "get" enough to explain it to others.

Thank you for all your help and suggestions.
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Old 06-08-2009, 01:03 AM
 
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some codes are pretty strait forward... and poetry is really just counting i understand where you are coming from not being good at math though. i failed algebra 2 and passed algebra 1 by the skin of my teeth. i like basic stuff... like money.. you either have it or you don't and its primarily adding and subtracting! that i can do.
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:57 AM
 
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I see the previous post mentioned codes. Don't know if this was brought up before, but error correcting codes could be cool and simple examples are easy to find. They are used in a lot of things, for example cds and dvds.

Beth wife to Tom and mommy to Therese 11/4/04 Anna Mary 6/15/07 and Veronica 10/20/09
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:05 PM
 
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You say that you like sewing? You like art? I have the answer. This is really cool. My 5th grade teacher had everyone in my class do something like this, and I remember it fondly to this very day. At the time, I didn't realize that it had anything to do with math, so it should satisfy your professor's fun requirement.

http://www.montessoriworld.org/Handw...h/stitch1.html

Will give you an idea of what I'm talking about. You could just use pencil and pen, without the embroidery floss, but it is absolutely stunningly gorgeous if you do needle and thread, specifically colored embroidery floss. You don't have to do it with exactly the same equipment that they say. In fifth grade, we didn't do the two straight lines at an angle that you see above. We did a circle.

In fifth grade, what we did is we took a piece of cardstock (thick paper), used a compass to draw a circle about 2 inches radius, and then used a pencil to mark tick marks all the way around the curve of the circle in order to subdivide the circumference into a lot (don't remember, maybe 100) equal arcs. Then we took something sharp (used the dangerous end of the compass), and poked the 100 holes, evenly spaced all the way around the rim of the circle. Then we used the pencil to label each hole, numbered from 1 to 100. Then, we threaded a needle with embroidery floss. I THINK we stitched from hole number 1 to hole number 2, then on the wrong side, we went back to number 1, then we stitched from hole number 1 to hole number 3, etc, until we stitched from hole number 1 to hole number 100. Then I THINK we started at hole number 2, and stitched to each of the other 98 holes in this manner, then started at hole number 3, etc. In the end we ended up with an gorgeous design. I think it was a cardioid (heart shape).

Now, doing this took us days, but we did this while multitasking. (While listening to teacher read a book to us, for example.) So you could do this anytime you would normally knit or have a spare moment, like watching TV or wait in line. It would only take 5 minutes to show the final product in class and explain what you did.

To round out your project, google Mary Everest Boole (1832 - 1916). She was an Englishwoman mathematician who invented this technique in 1904.
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Old 06-10-2009, 06:16 PM
 
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I think number theory is one of the most fascinating things in math. It is simple to understand the general concepts, but can get very involved. Probably not what you are looking for in this case, but I thought you might be interested anyway. This book has some neat number theory stuff and a very math-light history of how Fermat's Last Theorem was solved: http://www.amazon.com/Fermats-Enigma.../dp/0385493622 I also find calculus extremely fascinating (but that is definitely not going to work for this class) especially the part where you actually derive all those pesky geometry equations they make you memorize. I too hated memorization, there is a very small amount needed in subjects, beyond that you should be able to figure things out from the very basics without needing to memorize. You memorize much more naturally that way IMO!

Music was the other thing I thought of right away. There is so much math in music, but I can't think of anything off the top of my head to show that in a simple presentation. Card games are a good one too and puzzle games like Sodoku. I might do Sodoku actually, explain the basics of the game and a couple of the easier-to-understand methods people use to solve the puzzles.

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Old 06-12-2009, 01:08 PM
 
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you know to me it sounds bizarre that he is eliminating everyday math. and trying to show that cool math can be learnt.

i used to be a TA on such a class and i was v. popular (more than the teacher) only because i would always help them see the math in their everyday life. for instance if you asked them what is 10% of 100 you would freak them out. however if converted it into a word problem they got it before i finished saying it. like macy's 10% sale on a $100 skirt.

can you show the math in your dance steps. and use the steps to teach the class - both math and dance? or math thru dance?

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Old 06-13-2009, 01:57 AM
 
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What about the use of crochet to model and demonstrate hyperbolic space.

Hyperbolic space was difficult to model, can't even be done with a computer, until done with crochet, but it is something that shows up in nature all over the place, plants, single cell organisms and coral reefs.

There is a woman Margaret Wertheim who does a talk on it and worked on a crocheted coral reef project to demonstrate the principle.

If you can crochet or teach yourself quickly how too, you could even have a great visual aid for your presentation.

http://blog.ted.com/2009/04/crocheting_in_h.php

http://www.ted.com/talks/margaret_we...oral_reef.html

http://www.theiff.org/oexhibits/oe1e.html

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/l...cle4243171.ece

It's something I find very fascinating, how something so beautiful and complex can be demonstrated by something so simple.

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