Monday, September 19, 2011

Math...who needs it?

As a low-stakes exercise at the end of my first section of Precalc this morning I asked students to write down the most math-related activity in which they took part over the weekend. I got several quotidian responses ("I attempted to complete HW #5," "Chemistry HW," and the like) but I got some more exotic ones, too:

"I explained what a TI-83 was to a 6 yr old"

"The most math related thing I did this weekend was weigh the amount of almonds I wanted at Earthfare and calculate the price in my head."

"Calculated my availability for a client given all my meetings and classes that I have this week."

"I worked at the hospital all weekend, and at my job, I utilized math to calculate the number of calories and carbohydrates patients had been consuming."

"Averaging pace/mph/minutes per mile while running 1/2-marathon."

"I got kinda bored, so I figured out every time of the day where the angle of the clock hands were exactly the same as those of 4:00"

Fun times! We'll see what my second section can come up with.

On another topic, this afternoon I'm off to my fourth Carolinas Writing Program Administrators conference at the Wildacres Retreat Center just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. This year's theme is seeking external funding, and participants will spend a bit of time hammering out grant proposals as they bounce ideas off of one another. (Our current Writing Center director and I are planning some sort of regional writing-themed conference that would bring in not only university students and faculty but also K-12 educators and their students, and members of the community at large.) Of course, I'm sure I'll find time to work on my ongoing research with the College of Charleston crew (we're presenting this work at the Four Cs in March), and to cut loose with my comp-rhet buddies from all over the Carolinas.

Further bulletins as events warrant!


Because I know you've all been on tenterhooks since my last post, here are some of the most interesting weekend uses of math from my second section:

"I built a table and had to measure where to cut. I also wired a dimmer switch which required me to use some math."

"The most mathematical thing that I did this weekend was to figure out how many CDs my band sold based upon how much money we had in our 'money jar' at $15 an album. Also in figuring how much we owe our bass player when paying her 22% revenue earned per gig."

"I was playing a power chord on a mandolin and my friend asked me, how do you do that? I told him it was the same as a power chord on a guitar but reflected over the origin."

"I was actually bitching last thursday about how I would probably never use the research from our homework ever, but this weekend I got into a discussion about Dow Jones & was proven wrong. I laughed and will no longer bitch. :)"

Progress! :)

1 comment:

Sue said...

I find your descriptions of how you teach fascinating. My son is taking calculus in high school now. He's convinced that he will never need it "in real life." I wish he could come and take class with you.