Monday, December 3, 2012

Math and Art

Carol's presentation last week on Math and Art was great! It's amazing how prevalent the golden ratio is!

And, this week, we meet with Bryan Clair to talk about the math of Escher. What a mind Escher must have had to come up with some fascinating drawings...and Bryan Clair's site for Escher Math is full of wonderful examples.  I especially like the examples from the Moors in Spain, since I was able to go there last summer and see some of that beautiful art work for myself.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Confusing Graphs

Alison Snieckus, our presenter this week (Thursday at noon EST) on #VizMath, suggested we collect confusing graphs as well as helpful ones.  I found a few, but liked this one from a blog:

The blogger who shaded it pointed out how it was misleading.  The point was to show how most tweets are done directly through Twitter.  But, as the blogger noted, the percentages add up to 138%!  And, the categories are not worked out well at all.  This is clearly a graph that is sloppy and gives math a bad name.  So, what was the purpose of this graph?

Friday, November 2, 2012

On to graphing!

Graphs can help us see our world clearer.  They can take data and give it meaning.  That is, of course, if we use the right kind of graph!  Over the next two weeks, we'll be talking about visualizing data in many ways.  Alison Snieckus will start by talking about graphing data. She used to work for ETS, so her life has been an immersion in data! 

In preparation for next week, and in a not-too-subtle attempt at increasing connections within our MOOC , we're asking people to share their favorite visualization through Twitter, using #vizmath so that our friend gRSShopper can pick it up and share through our daily posts.  So, please do so!  Search for #vizmath first to get inspired.  Then, go for it!

In my hunt for some of my favorites, I came across this neat site that will do visualizations for you.  Check it out- it's called "Many Eyes."  And it's free!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Crocheting Adventures with Daina Taimina

Last Thursday, we had the honor of hosting in #Vizmath a presentation by Daina Taimina. Her slides were amazing- such beautiful color and curvature. But, what was even more impressive was the fascinating way that these works of art also spoke to us of mathematical ideas, specifically hyperbolic planes. 

I encourage you to listen to her presentation, which we've now put on YouTube:

And, now I have her book, Crocheting Adventures, thanks to Amazon.  Once you hear her on the video, you'll probably want the book as well. It includes patterns to try for yourself!  

After we stopped the recording part of the session, we continued a discussion among participants in the webinar. Part of the discussion was about geometry instruction in the schools. Yes, we probably did need to reduce the amount of time spent memorizing proofs, but we should have replaced memorization with these fascinating concepts.  The beauty of Daina's work with crocheting hyperbolic planes is that it can be approached from many levels. We had children in a class in the session.  What better way to excite children about math! Then, for those with more math background, they can be challenged to rethink what they know about curvature and space. Why do we ignore the power of the tactile in learning mathematics? When the senses are all pulled in, deeper learning can occur.

So, thank you, Daina, for helping me see this beauty of negative curvature and hyperbolic space around me. Now, let's share this with the world!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Apostolos Doxiadis

For our first session today of #Vizmath, we had Apostolos Doxiadis. author of several books, including Logicomix. He was delightful.  All of his answers were full of great reflection about math and narrative. And, the participants asked great questions! He talked about how his organization, Thales + Friends sponsors book clubs for reading mathematics in Greece. What a great idea! He also recommended some books and websites, which we will share on the VizMath site. He mentioned the book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, which I have on my Kindle.  He also mentioned some organizations that deal with fiction and mathematics. 

It was a wonderful start to VizMath.  Next week, we have Daina Taimina, who will talk about crocheting and hyperbolic space.  I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

VizMath begins!

Carol Yeager and I are doing a new MOOC, called #Vizmath.  Tomorrow, we will be joined by Apostolos Doxiadis, author of Logicomix and other books.  We will discuss math and narrative.

And, Daina, our speaker for next week, just told me that it is Gardner's birthday tomorrow!  How exciting! 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Introduction to Statistical Thinking

I'm also working on a Gates grant proposal for a new Saylor course, Introduction to Statistical Thinking.  Rather than focus on methods, this course will start with interesting questions. And, learners will work together to find the answsers!  Hence, this blog!

A beginning exercise will be with M&Ms. Have you ever wondered if there are an equal number of each color in the bag, as claimed?  Let's see!

Why this blog?

Welcome to my new blog about my mathematical journey!  I've created this blog so I can reflect on the different math projects I am working on this fall.  One is a MOOC, along with Carol Yeager, called #VizMath.  (The hashtag will allow this post to be picked up by gRSShopper and reported out of that MOOC!  Neat, eh?) It has been an  opportunity to research many neat areas of math and then find mathematicians willing to share their story.  We'll start with talking about math and narrative...more on that later.