Friday, December 31, 2010

The Joy of Stats [Video]

I often tell my students that learning mathematics will help us understand better the world around us. However, I often fall short of proving this point to my students. Fortunately, I found the video "The Joy of Stats," narrated by Professor Hans Rosling, to help me prove my point about the importance of learning mathematics. Professor Rosling use effective visual and storytelling techniques to persuade the viewers how powerful is learning statistics. Enjoy!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Math is everywhere! Even with the Miami Heat lineup!

I told you many times that math is everywhere! Even with the Heat! Coach using combination of lineups with his 3 superstars to maximize their talents to get wins. As a Miami Heat fan, math is even more beautiful when applied to one of my favorites basketball team. Go HEAT!

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Spoelstra's new math adds up for LeBron, Wade, Bosh

Heat's Chris Bosh opts for the rare inside passage
Photos: Lakers vs. Heat
The Miami Heat's Big Three are winning together to a degree because of how coach Erik Spoelstra has kept them apart.
With 3:26 to play in the first quarter, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh left the court together.

At the start of the second quarter, it was LeBron James who was out, with Wade and Bosh back in. Shortly after James returned, Wade and Bosh went to the bench.
The pattern was the same in the second half, with Wade and Bosh checking out with 2:46 to play in the third quarter and then opening the fourth quarter together while James was on the bench.
"I was just looking for something to break it up," Spoelstra said of the long division when it came to the playing time of his three stars. "I was playing LeBron 14, 15 straight minutes and I didn't want to do that. So I just decided to sit him out after the first-quarter break and to do that, I wanted to keep as many of the other guys on the court as possible.
The approach has allowed each star to have their moments of focus, while also keeping them fresh enough to finish together.
"That is a tough balance, where they can be who they've been for years and been so successful and yet strike a balance," Spoelstra said.
"That's the purpose and the reason for us three coming together, to have that dynamic of if one guy's going great, if other guys are going great," Wade said. "That's why we have different lineups.

How a kid see failure when learning mathematics!

This kid's quote struck me the most in the article: "You shouldn't think you aren't smart if you can't figure something out. Every time you get an answer wrong, you're one step closer to getting it right."

Beautifully stated! I need to help my developmental math students realize the benefits of failure the same way this kid did.

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Bethel boy can solve complex math equations in his head

Quick, what is the square root of 987?

For most people the answer involves finding the nearest calculator.

For 11-year-old Ethan Brown of Bethel, however, the answer

akes just a few seconds of mental effort. Ethan learned how to calculate problems in his mind from "Secrets of Mental Math," a book co-written by Arthur Benjamin, a mathematics professor at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif. Benjamin is known worldwide as a "mathemagician," a man who can mentally multiply enormous numbers.

I can square a two-digit number in my head instantly, a three-digit number in five to 20 seconds, and a four-digit number in two minutes.

Another thing I can do is name the day of the week of anyone's birthday.

I would like to be a math teacher. I want to get kids excited about math. Math is really an interesting topic. Unlike what people may think, it's not just limited to the subjects you are taught in school, like algebra and geometry.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Another practical reason to master your math skills

Every math educator has been asked at some point the following question by at least one of their students: "When I will use this?!?" This question is often difficult to answer because the usefulness of mathematics is a personal matter. Though mathematics is involved in every aspect of our lives, the degree level on how we use mathematics depends on the type of job we do or what tasks or goals we are trying to accomplish. For example, I constantly use mathematics in my career as a math educator, not only in teaching but also in my decision making when designing learning activities.

However, here is an interesting article that can be used as a general answer to the most frequent asked question from math students: to attain a sustainable lifestyle. I encourage you to read the article to gain awareness on how math is essential to increase our chances to live a comfortable lifestyle, a goal shared by most of us. Enjoy the reading!

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Basic math is key to wealth accumulation

It seems people who can handle basic math problems tend to accumulate more wealth than the numerically challenged.

A recent study found that couples who score well on a simple test of "numeracy" - the ability to reason with mathematical concepts - have attained greater wealth, with more money invested in the stock market.

He cited skills such as an ability to multiply, divide and compute percentages, plus a familiarity with interest rates, compounding and present vs. future value.

The study also found that when a less math-proficient spouse is the main financial decision maker, household wealth tends to be lower. Men, incidentally, assume this role more than women, at least within those 50 and older.

Numerical ability appears to be more critical for wealth accumulation than other cognitive skills such as having a good memory.

As noted, the study showed that people who are more comfortable with numbers accumulate more wealth and own more stock investments. In this regard, Smith cited another useful literacy skill: the ability to recognize that the danger of losing money in the stock market lessens over time.