Today I stumbled on a video Steven Stogratz – Doing Math in Public – via Cornell University. I typically don’t watch people talk about math but I find this video very interesting. I happen to be one of those people, who did fairly well in my math courses in high school and even college, but alway had a hard time understanding the application of upper level math. I could work through and solve equations, and pass tests – but I never understood how I could actually apply it to the real world.
The video then lead me to Steven’s New York Times Blog series, The Elements of Math. The reaction to his posts, by the public, were very supportive. There are over 500 comments on his first post – From Fish to Infinity where he also shares why he was writing this series:
“Crazy as it sounds, over the next several weeks… I’ll be writing about the elements of mathematics, from pre-school to grad school, for anyone out there who’d like to have a second chance at the subject — but this time from an adult perspective. It’s not intended to be remedial. The goal is to give you a better feeling for what math is all about and why it’s so enthralling to those who get it. So, let’s begin with pre-school…”
Steven then created another 6 part series called Me, Myself, and Math. In which showcases math in real world scenarios. First post shares how math is related to baby cowlicks and finger prints. I certainly did not understand those things had a mathematical explanation for existence, did you?
Again, the reaction to Steven’s work via blog comments and Twitter is interesting… by many people who are not mathematicians – like yours truly. He has over 10K followers and shares many references to math in real world situations. I am not sure where Steven’s resources could by used with K12 students. (I am not a subject matter expert in Math) but it does make me to wonder… could some of his blog posts, scenarios, tweets lead to opportunities for real world dialog with students? He is definitely fascinating and has one new follower!