Archive for November, 2009


Contemporary Math Projects

We started presenting projects today in Contemporary Math.  I was a little concerned because I’d been intentionally vague with the assignment, hoping for creative projects, but possibly opening myself up to some serious slacking.  But I was really impressed by the work my students did!  Their projects ranged from posters and scrapbooks to PowerPoint presentations and music videos.  There were even a lot of goodies from those who decided to do baking projects (and as their math instructor, I felt it was my duty to sample these).

If I had to give out creativity awards for the projects presented today, I think I’d have to go with:

Section 001 went to the sports folks.  I had great videos by Bryan McGraw on how Heisman Trophy selection relates to voting theory and Maddalina Poliendrio on tennis and physics.  Both contained great clips and explanations.

Section 002 was a three-way tie between David Banks’ graph theory approach to bank robbery, Ben Ashby’s video about the cost of eating out vs. cooking, and Catherine Brereton’s music video on the cost of feeding picky kids (with a surprise appearance by her criminal cat).

And I enjoyed all of the goodies, but I think the “Fabulous Diet Killer” award has to go to Amanda Powell, who used math (and a bit of experimentation) to convert her grandmother’s cake recipe from pinches and jiggers to cups and teaspoons.  I could have eaten the whole thing and died a happy woman!

I think I can already say that my students have made this project a success – and we still have one more day to go!

Brain Dump Complete.


How to Study for a Math Test

Maria Andersen, a friend and colleague of mine had her class discuss and research “How to Study for a Math Test.”  They presented their results on a website.  This site includes general note taking ideas, study strategies, and tips for managing test anxiety.  I would strongly suggest checking it out and passing it on to anyone you know who is taking a math class.

Brain Dump complete.


MA 111 Project

MA 111 – 001 & 002
Project Proposal

Choose an area or topic in your own life where math is used, and plan to find out more about it.  How does it really work?  What math is involved?  Who created it?  How long has it been around?  What don’t most people realize about it?  Etc.  Then decide how you might like to present this information.  Try your hand at a music video.  Make a mock news show, interviewing an expert (or a friend willing to act as an expert).  Write and illustrate a children’s book.  A mind map that organizes references and interesting activities you found on the internet.  A recording of a piece of music you wrote.  Please note: research papers will not be accepted!

Now, summarize your topic idea(s), the questions you want to ask, and the way or ways you want to present this information.  Think of it like a sketch of a later painting.  Your proposal is due at the end of class today.  Your project will be due on or before Tuesday, 11/17/09.