Exploring Negative Bases

I love it when math works as it should. Such was the case last night when I was looking for a problem to explore. I began by checking my favourite blogs for a quick puzzle before bed. Nothing really stuck, so I tried some searches on twitter. (#math #mathchat #puzzle usually get the job done). I found a puzzle that intrigued me and began to work. Before I mention the puzzle, I want to say a quick word about school maths. I have a great personal interest in mathematics, and am able to move on past problems that don’t pique …

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First Day Tasks

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.    This is naturally true, and although I don’t believe that you can build or destroy a successful semester in one class, it is definitely important to put your money where your mouth is on the first day. I have spent the past few days digging around my materials for the best possible starter activities.   I had some very helpful responses from the twitter-verse, and it prompted me to somehow sort out the information being provided to me. In the past, I have had very productive lessons on …

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A Declaration of Independence

I used to be roommates with a magician. He kept all of his materials locked up in a trunk in our hall closet. Although he had devoted himself to the study of human psychology, I still convinced him to crack open the trunk and show me a trick from time to time. This experience was one of the most frustrating yet intellectually stimulating experiences of my life. I was a mathematics undergrad immersed in a stressful environment of number theory, numerical analysis, and abstract algebra. I was being trained to reason effectively, and his antics refreshed my perspective on reality. …

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The Blue Jays Defense

Baseball is mathematically based. It is the best link between the generally nerdy domain of mathematics and generally manly domain of professional sports. The one downside to this statistically driven machine is that the stats can be selected and used to benefit almost any argument proposed. Major League Baseball keeps such extensive records of stats, that there is always an obscure one in support of your argument. Right now the league is in an uproar over the Toronto Blue Jays sign stealing controversy. Some anonymous players claimed that the Jays were stealing signs with a 3rd party and that effected …

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Un-Locking Prior Knowledge

I enjoy mathematics in the morning. It wakes my brain up, and makes my coffee that much more comforting. Much of the deliberate mathematics learning that I do takes place in the morning. I say deliberate, because mathematics always finds ways to sneak itself into all parts of my day. Morning is just when I open the door and embrace the learning with open arms.  Today’s dose came courtesy of @republicofmath via @jamesgrime. The problem took longer than I expected, but the result was quite eloquent. I ended up using a method that I had no intention of ever using …

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Large Number Numeracy

Gigantic numbers are all around us. This has never been more apparent since the US Debt ceiling became a major issue. The facts and figures are thrown around by the news, and joked about on Late Night television to the point where their potency is diluted. Not many Americans seriously understand what a trillion dollars is. That statement can be broadened to include all earthlings. The comprehension of large numbers is a very interesting task, especially given the role that the media plays in our students’ lives. Take game shows for example. I remember watching the first ever episode of “Who …

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