Tuesday, March 4, 2014

From My Feeds to Yours: Six Interesting Things

I don't think I've ever done a post like this before but, then again, I don't think I've run across so many wonderful, thoughtful, helpful blog posts in such a short time.  In other words, there's been a plethora of fabulous thinking and writing showing up in my feeds, all of it related to math education in some way.

Here's what has inspired me in the last week or so:

From Michael Jacobs in Canada comes some really interesting thinking about connecting spatial skill development to math class in intentional ways.  He alerted me to the fact that my Mathagogy video was being shown at a meeting focusing on this topic. This chance reminder about spatial reasoning reminded me that as a dancer teaching math and dance and writing a book about math and dance I really want and need to understand this topic more deeply. All this got me thinking. I love it when that happens.  Here's Michael's post on spatial reasoning.


Another chance encounter on Twitter was with Edmund Harriss and his post Rational Parameterisation of the Circle.  The images above are Lissajous curves and they made me wonder how they might be used as interesting choreographic prompts; I immediately started wondering how to turn all that math into a meaningful math/dance inquiry in the classroom.  Our conversation helped me realize that it might actually be a really cool project. Hopefully we'll be able to work out some more ideas about this while at Twitter Math Camp in July.
I happened upon the curves post just after doing a little math/dance investigation in my own dance style this morning. I typed up a little report and posted it to the Math in Your Feet Facebook page. Here's part:
"Today's little dance/math tidbit, an odd over even experiment ...Ultimately, I can only do the 13 beat phrase twice w/out naturally trying to even things out, partly because the music & dance work together so closely.  Putting the dance 'at odds' with the music can have some really cool results, but in the case of this experiment I may need to dial it back a little."  
Then there was a lovely, detailed article in The Atlantic blog featuring an interview with Maria Droujkova about her vision for helping young children and their parents make math meaningful in their own lives.
“You can take any branch of mathematics and find things that are both complex and easy in it,” Droujkova says. “My quest, with several colleagues around the world, is to take the treasure of mathematics and find the accessible ways into all of it.”
I have gained so much from interacting with Maria through her Natural Math and Moebius Noodles projects, and am honored to be included as a contributing blogger on the Moebius Noodles site and also asked to co-author a book with her Delta Stream Media company.  Keep your eyes out for Socks are Like Pants, Cats are Like Dogs a book of games, puzzles and making activities around the ideas of variables, attributes, sorting and more which I am co-authoring with Gord Hamilton of Math Pickle.  Our manuscript is almost complete!
This week there was also an excellent piece from Edward Frenkel, How our 1,000 year old math curriculum cheats America's kids.  Read it together with Maria's interview piece and the two together really pack a wallop in terms of creating a beautiful big picture of how important it is to include the exciting big ideas in math learning.
If you work in a classroom, this post from Fawn Nguyen on Classroom Management is full of wisdom:
"We can't say we possess great classroom management skills if we could pick and choose where and whom to teach. There's a quote out there that I like: Parents are sending us their best; they're not keeping the good ones at home. So, if we took the students out of the classroom-management-success equation, we are left with two variables: the teacher and the classroom."
 And there you have it. A whole lot of what's interesting to me, just for you!

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