Archive for the 'MA111' Category


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.


Animoto Voting Theory Video

Here is my latest project.  Of course, I should be grading things, but this was WAY more fun!  For those of you who haven’t checked out Animoto, you should totally do it.  It’s really easy to upload your images (and Office 2007 will let you export Power Point slides as JPEG files now), choose a song and tell Animoto to make you a sweet video.  As far as I can tell, I don’t seem to be able to move the videos to my screencast account or anywhere else, but they have extensive sharing options.

Anyhow, I made this video for my Intro to Contemporary Math students to review their voting methods.

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Feel free to use the video for educational purposes only.  If you like the music, make sure to check out Darkest Days.

Brain Dump complete.