Category: Math for Liberal Arts

Fractals on NOVA Online

NOVA Online has put up a nice set of videos (totaling an hour in length) about fractals. The series is broken into five chapters so you can easily browse (or assign) different parts separately. Possibly Related Posts: Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast about ESIL Lens Add Graphs In The World to Courses Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day Taking the Algebra Out of College Algebra Group Exploration in...

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45th Carnival of Math

If I’ve counted correctly, this is the 45th Carnival of Math. I’m going to call this the Procrastination Edition (since for most of us, we are getting into that end-of-the-semester crunch and if you’re reading this, it is probably because you’re avoiding paper-grading, test-writing, or some kind of emergency end-of-the-semester meeting). If you’re postponing the grading of Number Theory assignments, then go over to 360, and read their submission called Perfection (about perfect numbers and their appearance on the TV show Bones). If you’ve got a stack of History of Math projects to grade, and you’d rather not, take a look at Jason’s submission On the Ancient Babylonian Value for Pi. If there’s a stack of Business Math tests you’re hiding from, check out Vlorbik’s submission, Trust the Code. If you’ve got to write a test on sequences, here’s a post about geometric progressions that you’ll have to read instead, The Sex Lives of the Jade Emperors. Bonus for you if you can work it into a test question and avoid the Dean’s office. If there’s a decision you’re trying to make, or avoid making, check out the awesome decision tree in Parts Assembly and the Burr Puzzle Antimatroid. If you’ve just got too much to do, maybe you can comfort yourself by using the Pigeonhole principle to prove to yourself that someone else out there in the world...

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Song about Mandelbrot Sets

Just a short post this morning, as I am still recovering from AMATYC. Jonathan Coulton has a great song about the Mandelbrot Set. To hear it, go to his website and scroll down the heading 4 Geeky Ones . Possibly Related Posts: Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast about ESIL Lens Add Graphs In The World to Courses Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day Taking the Algebra Out of College Algebra Group Exploration in...

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Election Algebra

Inspired by a great speech last night, I stopped to watch this 4-minute video from Commoncraft on Electing a US President in Plain English. What I discovered was that, in their typical “plain English” way, they have done a fantastic job of making sense of the idea of proportion and, buried in this little video, are some great simple, relevant, problems about algebraic expressions, fractions, and percents. Often, we only talk about the electoral college when we discuss voting methods in a liberal arts math class, but there are so many ways you could use this video as part of a set of algebra word problems at the most basic algebra/pre-algebra levels. Here are a few… Let x represent the number of districts in a state, write an algebraic expression for the number of electors for the state. California has 55 electors, how many districts are in the state of California? There are 538 electoral votes. Wisconsin’s electors get 5/269 of the electoral votes. Use an equivalent fraction to find out how many electors Wisconsin has. A candidate needs to win 270 electoral votes to become the president-elect. What percent of the electoral votes is this? Here’s a link to a US Electoral College Map, in case you’d like to write your own problems. If only every set of word problems came with a little “commen-sense” video explaining the...

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