Tag Archive for math

Teach Statistics Before Calculus

In this 2009 TED talk, mathematics professor and author Arthur Benjamin asks why schools give so much emphasis to calculus and so little to statistics, when arguably statistics is so essential to participation in society.

Art + Math + Community

This painting is now hanging on our Upper School math building, a gift from the senior class and one student artist in particular. Look closely for formulas that define each shape and rulers on some of the stems. Click on the image to view a larger version.

I love this work, for many reasons.

It exemplifies ingenuity, initiative, effort, and attention to detail, qualities that we extol in our graduates.

It makes a vibrant aesthetic statement in an otherwise genial but subdued courtyard space.

It celebrates interdisciplinary learning, math, and art.

One student designed the painting, but many helped to complete it.

It supports efforts to build community around shared values.


I am sitting in Toby Beck’s NCCE session about MathCasting. He has students create screencasts in which they explain solutions to math problems. Teachers also create a full set of explanatory lessons for the curriculum. Students benefit by reflecting on their solutions so that they may explain them.

Toby uses OneNote and Jing, but this is similar to Darren Kuropatwa’s SmartBoard-based class blogs. One only needs a platform that can record student finger or pen input. I suspect that an iPad solution also exists. Both teachers suggest that students use images to apply mathematical concepts to real-world problems. Student blogs also serve as their electronic portfolios.

I am curious that this approach has gained some traction in mathematics. Perhaps there is something about this abstract subject that lends itself well to an explanatory medium.