Math on the Web
This is a cute Numberphile to use with your students. It is a short fun episode that explains the math behind some of the most common math jokes.
I will always remember reading the book Cadillac Desert. It was the first book that I read that was vividly able to contextualize really large numbers. Seeing this awesome new chrome extension reminded me of that experience. The Dictonary of Numbers will take any number you find on the internet and do exactly that for you: contextualize it. Check out the video.
I found this extension via my favorite tech tools blog: Free Technology for Teachers
The WolframAlpha Facebook app allows you to enjoy “the book” math-style. Network graphs, maps, posting frequencies. It is pretty awesome and a bit geeky. Enjoy.
I caught a Lifehacker article about a webapp that emulates the most popular graphing calculators. The app is called JsTIfied. I prefer a webapp like Desmos that is built for the web, not meant to emmulate hardware. But if you know the TI-83 inside and out or are nostalgic for those good old days, this might be for you.
This is a great story of a high school math teacher using rap to lift algebra off the page a little. Here is his YouTube channel so you can check out some of the videos mentioned in the NPR story above.
Thanks, Colleen, for sending this my way!
Here is a great new search engine for math teachers and math students. It solves the problem-concept gulf that often exists between teachers and students. If a math teacher and a student look at 2x+3=17. The teacher will think, “a linear equation.” The student will think “I have to move the the 3 three over and then divide by 2.” As I have tried to encourage my students to use the web more to learn math, this gulf has been a recurring problem. If a student runs into an equation like 2x+3=17 and tries to use Google to learn how to do it, they more than likely will have a problem figuring out what search terms to input (like ’solving linear equations’). On the other side of things if the student throws 2x+3=17 into WolframAlpha, WA solves it, graphs it, gives them alternate forms for the equation. The results are awesome, but don’t do much to connect the student to the larger class of problems. This is where Symbolab is awesome. You can enter a problem and it will connect you to web resources pertaining to the concept of which the problem is an example. Compare these three searches on 2x+3=17
Symbolab’s searches aren’t perfect. I noticed the search for 2x+3=17 was better than 2x+3=5 for whatever reason. However, it’s a great start in the right direction. I hope they continue to improve.
One of the hardest things to get students to appreciate is the positional number system. It is one those things that seems so simple and inevitable that everyone takes it for granted. It is hard to imagine what life was like before it and what was made possible because of it. This Planet Money podcast captures this enormity of this transition inside of the story of Luca Pacioli, a mathematician responsible for codifying and disseminating double entry book keeping throughout the world. The whole show is great, but if nothing else, listen to the first five minutes.
I was searching for something else and got sucked in by this provocatively titled TED vid, Why Math Instruction Is Unnecessary. It was a well spent 12 minutes. It basically follows how a middle school math teacher’s answer to the question, When will I ever need this?, has evolved over time.
I love this cartoon, Function World by Grant Snider. I found it on Drawn and have beeb subscribed to Snider’s Incidental Comics blog ever since. Not every comic is mathematical in nature, but most of them look at the world in bemused abstraction. (like a mathematician) This is one of my favorite comics online, second only to the immortal XKCD.