Battlestations!!!

Nerds battle hungry football players who want to eat their giant fractal Dorito creation:

For more details on this video (and photos of the fractal’s construction), check out the Blown Apart Studios page. I’m looking forward to their next project, Nerd High, a musical comedy set in an alternate reality where nerds rule the school and jocks are the outcasts.


howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.

New Edition of Must-Read Math Book

I thought I knew math fairly well.

I thought arithmetic was boring.

I thought the reason other nations beat America in international math tests was that their students worked harder than ours.

I thought all sorts of silly things before I read Liping Ma’s Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics. Now this must-read book is coming out in a new edition, due in bookstores next week.

I can hardly wait!

In American elementary mathematics education, arithmetic is viewed as negligible, sometimes even with pity and disdain—like Cinderella in her stepmother’s house. Many people seem to believe that arithmetic is only composed of a multitude of “math facts” and a handful of algorithms. . . Who would expect that the intellectual demand for learning such a subject actually is challenging and exciting?

Liping Ma
Arithmetic in American Mathematics Education: An Abandoned Arena?

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Math Teachers at Play #22 via Math Hombre

The new Math Teachers at Play blog carnival is open at math hombre for your browsing pleasure:

The carnival features a wide variety of posts about math and teaching, along with 6 puzzle questions and a warning about the “rare but deadly Blogcarnival Catch 22.” Enjoy!

If you would like to host a future edition of Math Teachers at Play, leave a comment below or send me an email.

Free Learning Guide Booklets


Claim your two free learning guide booklets, and be one of the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.


Quotable: College Majors

Discovered this in my blog reader this morning, and I thought you would enjoy it, too.
[Note: Stu is not the person’s real name, but is short for “student.”]

Stu came to my office looking for a new major. Stu is bad at math and can’t handle the math sequence required of business majors. So Stu was wondering what majors require the lowest level math sequence that counts towards graduation.

I listed a few.

Stu was disappointed. Stu pointed out that you don’t usually think about people in those fields as making a lot of money. Stu lamented that everything that is in demand requires math.

Rudbeckia Hirta
Learning Curves blog


howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.

Prime Numbers Are like Monkeys

[Photo by mape_s.]

I’m afraid that Math Club may have fallen victim to the economy, which is worse in our town than in the nation in general. Homeschooling families have tight budgets even in the best of times, and now they seem to be cutting back all non-essentials. I assumed that last semester’s students would return, but I should have asked for an RSVP.

Still, Kitten and I had a fun time together. We played four rounds of Tens Concentration, since I had spread out cards on the tables in the library meeting room before we realized that no one was coming. Had to pick up the cards one way or another, so we figured we might as well enjoy them! She won the first two rounds, which put her in a good mood for our lesson.

I had written “Prime numbers are like monkeys!” on the whiteboard, and Kitten asked me what that meant. That was all the encouragement I needed to launch into my planned lesson, despite the frustrating dearth of students. The idea is taken from Danica McKellar’s book Math Doesn’t Suck.

Continue reading Prime Numbers Are like Monkeys

2010 Mathematics Game


[Photo by pfala.]

Did you know that playing games is one of the Top 10 Ways To Improve Your Brain Fitness? So slip into your workout clothes and pump up those mental muscles with the 2010 Mathematics Game!

Here are the rules:

Use the digits in the year 2010 to write mathematical expressions for the counting numbers 1 through 100.

  • All four digits must be used in each expression. You may not use any other numbers except 2, 0, 1, and 0.
  • You may use the arithmetic operations +, -, x, ÷, sqrt (square root), ^ (raise to a power), and ! (factorial). You may also use parentheses, brackets, or other grouping symbols.
  • You may use a decimal point to create numbers such as .1, .02, etc.
  • Multi-digit numbers such as 20 or 102 may be used, but preference is given to solutions that avoid them.

Bonus Rule
You may use the overhead-bar (vinculum), dots, or brackets to mark a repeating decimal.

[Note to teachers: This rule is not part of the Math Forum guidelines. It makes a significant difference in the number of possible solutions, however, and it should not be too difficult for high school students or advanced middle schoolers.]

Continue reading 2010 Mathematics Game