Category: Classroom Life

Happy Mathematical Halloween!

Jake as y= – x^2-1.David as “Super Derivative Man” (we had a test today… he is his own notecard) And, after a bit of late-night inspiration last night … today I am a logarithmic curve! Joel patiently created this masterpiece using electrical tape and yes, I am planning to wear it all day (including airports) assuming the tape holds. Possibly Related Posts: Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day Group Exploration in Math AMATYC Keynote Notes: Interaction and Impasse The 1-9-90 Rule and Observations of a Classroom Experience Phone Cameras Handle Information in a...

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Hyperjobs… College instructors of the future

Someone passed this interesting set of articles from The Futurist to me. It is a Special Report on Jobs (Nov-Dec 2005). Hyperjobs: The New Higher-Level Work and How to Grow Into It Hyperjobs by Richard W. Samson Working in the Future by John A. Challenger Career Planning for the 21st Century by Joyce Gioia and Roger Herman I cannot find a direct link to the articles (I think you will have to ask your reference librarian to find it for you… or look in your library) but I thought I would share a few of the interesting predictions: “White-collar worksers may currently feel comfortable about their own prospects, but in fact service occupations – including the most technical and intellectually demanding – are the new targets of technological advance.” The article goes on to discuss, among other professions, how colleges are replacing professors with with less-costly adjunct professors, launching distance learning programs, and using fully-automated learning systems. “If you behave like a robot, you risk being replaced by one.” A “hyperjob” is more of a collection of jobs or tasks that will replace careers as we know them. Hyperjobs will be based on, they predict, five “aliveness” skills: Discovery, Creativity, Implementation, Influence, and Physical action. The “enabling” skills that a person will need to have to be employable are: Basic mental skills (perception, classification, emotional release) Symbolic thinking and...

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Halloween Math Costumes

Last month, my calculus class noticed that they would be having class on Halloween. Do we really have class? they asked. Yes, it’s an 8am class, why would we cancel it? Can we wear costumes? they asked. Yes, you can dress as your favorite mathematical function. Can we get extra credit if we dress as a math function? they asked. Sure, why not, but I’m bringing my camera. This week they are a little more nervous about the idea… we’ll look like geeks! they said. I said, Well, if you’re trying to win a “scariest costume” contest, what could be scarier to people than a logarithmic function? Will they dress up? No idea. But if they do, I’ll post the pictures. Possibly Related Posts: Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day Group Exploration in Math AMATYC Keynote Notes: Interaction and Impasse The 1-9-90 Rule and Observations of a Classroom Experience Phone Cameras Handle Information in a...

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Line Rider, in its infancy, had only one tool, the pen. With this tool, you drew your masterpiece curve (or piecewise curves), on which, the little hatted dude rides his sled. There were rules about the curves, when drawn left to right, the were riding curves, when drawn right to left, decoration… or something like that. However, the new version of LineRider has multicolored pens, an eraser tool (woo hoo) and now with the addition of the magical Jing program… I can easily record and share my masterpiece with you. If you watch my masterpiece, keep in mind that I have just nicely demonstrated two types of discontinuities in my work… removable discontinuities (the little dude just glides over the hole) and jump discontinuities (the little dude leaps from one part of the curve to another). LineRider can be an interesting and fun study in slopes for algebra students, asymptotes for pre-calculus students, and limits for calculus students. However, the true works of art are the ones created and set to music like these classic LineRiders all available on YouTube: (turn on your sound) Jagged Peak Adventure Urban Run Electronic Adventures LineRider SuperMario (okay… that one is really clever!) These are good for a 5-minute break in class… you know… for those students that refuse to get out of their seats and stretch… they might as well be entertained!...

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MY cell phone rang in class today…

A ringing cell phone in class can be the last straw if you’re already having a rough day… and so we all have written a policy at one time or another to discourge cell phones from going off in class. Here was my policy last year (and for the last few years): If a cell phone goes off in class, everyone will take a 10-point pop quiz… my choice of topics. For the most part, this was a good policy, but there were nagging problems. For example, sometimes there would be a student that just couldn’t do it… they just couldn’t remember to turn the dang thing off. And so they would be the cause of quiz after quiz (while the classroom environment became a bit hostile for them). What if a student was absent on a day when another student caused a pop-quiz? Well, recently we (husband and I) dumped our home phone land line for cell phones (long story there) and now I have a cell phone that can access the internet, open Word & Excel documents, take pictures, check email, etc. So, this semester I was a bit worried that now I would be the one with the ringing cell phone. So I removed my cell phone policy from the syllabus and now I am back to just glaring at a student if their phone rings...

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