Museum of Illusions – Toronto, CA

This post is the first of many about the mathematics I discovered while visiting museums and exhibits during my Fall 2019 sabbatical. The first one up is the Museum of Illusions - Toronto, Canada. This museum wasn’t originally part of my sabbatical plan as it just opened in October 2018. Although my favorite illusion was the rotated room, where it appears you are walking up the walls since the furniture is on the ceiling. I can see many applications of this exhibits in this museum in my own classes: Many exhibits with angles and perspective that could be integrated into a prealgebra class when teaching geometry Optical illusions and puzzles that could be used as ice breakers in any math class A Tower of Hanoi picture that could be used in a Discrete Math course And a special shoutout for having a great quote by Albert Einstein on the wall More information about some of the exhibits can also be found here. For more of my...
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Decade in Review

As we enter the new decade of the 2020s, I thought it might be nice to highlight some of my accomplishments and some of the ups and downs I went through during the last ten years: 2010 January At the beginning of the year, I was still working toward my Ph.D. Started at Henry Ford Community College as an adjunct instructor. November Gave a seminar on using the TI-83/84 Calculator at Oakland University. 2011 January Started at Ohio Christian University and the University of Phoenix as an adjunct instructor.  May Approved on May 17 as a Full-Time Instructor of Mathematics by the Macomb Community College Board of Trustees effective August 2011. Started volunteering with Friends of the Rochester Hills Public Library working on their member database and social media pages. June Attended the ACMS Conference in Santa Barbara, CA Started at Macomb Community College as an adjunct instructor. August Created a Math Bingo Game for the First Annual Macomb Community College Employee Picnic Attended Math and Technology Workshop at Muskegon Community College August 15 was my first day at...
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Real Life Pythagorean Theorem

So, I’d like to believe that most people know the Pythagorean Theorem. The famous a2 + b2 = c2 theorem that relates the lengths of the sides of a right triangle. Earlier this month, I was helping my mom move. The moving company requested to know the size of my mom’s televisions. Since my mom has a 1990s console-style Cathode-ray tube (CRT) television, I was going to measure the length, width, depth, and screen size so that the company would have an accurate idea of the size of the television as possible. If you didn’t know, the screen size of a TV is always measured diagonally, which is a practice that was started by early TV manufacturers simply to make the size of the TV more impressive. Mathematically, the diagonal of a TV will always be longer than its length or width. Another thing to note is that for old CRT TVs like my mom’s, the size of the TV’s diagonal measurement is...
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Adoption is not Adorable

A recent story titled, “Boy invites entire kindergarten class to his adoption hearing — and it’s adorable,’ started making its way around Facebook. I saw some of my friends share it with comments of “Aww” and “Yep, I cried…” I have nothing against my friends, but quite frankly, I found this article and sharing it in such a way to be very offensive. It’s the holiday season. Last year my dad died, and due to being in a long-distance relationship, for the time being, I am going to spend most of this holiday season alone. Tonight I was driving home from the store, all of this hit me, and I just started crying in the car. I want nothing more than to see my birth mother again, hug her, and just lay my big head in her arms. Even though I have not seen her since I was three months old, and I don’t remember her at all, there are certain...
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Thoughts on Today’s Educational System

The other day I was talking with a friend who isn’t a teacher and our conversation led me to have the following thoughts: What we do in what has become today’s traditional educational system where students are expected to sit in rows and attend classes all day and then go home to do homework doesn’t work for most students. It is unnatural for someone to sit for that long at a time, let alone a younger person. In general, people do tend to learn better by being actively involved in their learning. I reminded my friend that the educational system hasn’t always been this way. Anyway, here is what I think has happened: At some point, America primarily was a land of farms. Children would wake up early to help their family on the farm, learning valuable life lessons along the way as well. Then, later in the day, the children would go to a one-room schoolhouse for a lesson on reading and...
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My Holiday Plea

Earlier this week, I had lunch at a business I know is not Christian-owned, but they have some of the best Christmas decorations of any restaurant I've been to yet this season. They do it because they want to support their Christian brothers and sisters who do celebrate Christmas. They could easily instead say things like, 'This is not a Christian-owned business. We will deny service to those wearing Christmas-themed clothes as it goes against our beliefs.' But, instead, they choose to support one another and their community regardless of their beliefs. I am reminded of how many businesses I've heard of denying services to people due to their beliefs. For example, businesses that refuse services to gay couples because gay goes against their beliefs. But what if these businesses took the approach of supporting one another regardless of beliefs? I'm not even talking about discrimination based on physical appearances, as I've been discriminated against because I'm Korean. But I'm talking about discrimination...
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Distribution of my Facebook Friends’ Names

The other day I was talking with my friend Matt, and he said to me that he thought I knew a lot of people with names starting with “J.” I thought that was a bit strange, but started looking through my Facebook Friends list out of curiosity, and sure enough, Matt was right. The distribution of my Facebook Friends’ Names is below: Then he claimed that he felt that most of my friend’s names began with a “J.” As you can see, the highest is “J” with 43, followed by “S – 35,” “M – 32,” “D – 31,” and “R – 30.” And if your name starts with a “U” or an “X,” I’m likely not to be your friend. So, I wanted to test Matt’s hypothesis that most of my friend’s names start with a “J.” H0: the proportion of my friend’s names that start with a “J” is 0.5 H1: the proportion of my friend’s names that start with a “J”...
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Student Success in Accelerated Classes

I’m in a Facebook Group in which there was a question about student success in courses with compressed or accelerated schedules. At my college we offer all of our online courses in the 8-week format and we also offer some of our on-campus classes in a 12-week ‘late start’ format. However, I believe the length of the class is not the only factor that affects student success in a course. Course Size Our online classes have a cap of 22 students and on-campus classes have a cap of 35 students. Academic Dishonesty Due to the increased opportunity for academic dishonesty in online classes, we require a 60% or higher on a proctored on-campus final exam to pass an 8-week online class. No Show Students A student is marked as a ‘No Show’ student after 3-weeks, whether it is a 8-week, 12-week, or 16-week class. However, three weeks in an eight week class is significantly different than three weeks in a 16-week class. Even if the success rate...
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The New Push for Online Courses

At my college, there has been a push to add additional sections of many online courses due to increasing demand. There are many reasons for this new push for online classes, including  recent changes in our placement test scores. Now more students are placing into Beginning Algebra than into Intermediate Algebra. Although generally in a time in which college enrollments are typically declining, the additional classes would be welcome, this new push for online courses has raised many concerns: How should online courses be assigned to faculty? Before every semester, faculty select their classes. Sometimes it is not possible to please every faculty member. Suppose a faculty member desired to teach three online courses but was only assigned to teach two online classes. Should that faculty member automatically be offered any additional online sections added to the schedule after selections have occurred? Should this trump seniority in this case? Should the instructor be allowed to change their schedule to accommodate another online...
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Academic Supports for College Students with An Autism Spectrum Disorder

I’m in a Facebook Group in which there was a recent discussion about what to do about a student who has type 1 diabetes, autism, a learning disability, an emotional disability, and very poor eyesight. The student can do the required coursework but is often disruptive in class. The instructor is doing everything to the best of her ability to accommodate the student but asked for suggestions as to what else she might be able to do. I found some references that I thought might be helpful, and thought it could be beneficial to others to share the resources here as well: Academic Supports for College Students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Overview https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/styles/iidc/defiles/IRCA/AcademicSupportsOct2018acc.pdf https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/academic-supports-for-college-students-with-an-autism-spectrum-disorder Teaching College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-classroom-management/teaching-college-students-with-autism-spectrum-disorders/ Students with Autism in the College Classroom https://www.heath.gwu.edu/students-autism-college-classroom Students on the autism spectrum are often as smart as their peers — so why do so few go to college? https://hechingerreport.org/students-autism-spectrum-often-smart-peers-go-college/ How to Teach an Autistic College Student https://www.wikihow.com/Teach-an-Autistic-College-Student As someone who worked as a counselor at a special needs...
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