The Problem with Math is English

There have been several separate occasions in my math classes this semester where a student has asked me a question about a vocabulary word and I simply just didn't know the answer.  I took 3 years of Latin in high school and I was an English teacher at one point, so I generally can guess the meaning of a word from the root word.  However, some words just have me stumped.   My new ‘go to’ tool in class is dictionary.com.  Let me give you a few examples of some words that I have looked up during class this semester. Linear Algebra In linear algebra, we were talking about inverse matrices and a student asked me what it means to be an inverse.  I explained to him that it means that the inverse matrix, if it exists, is the matrix that when multiplied by the original matrix yields the identity matrix.  Although that explained what the inverse is mathematically speaking, that really didn't give any...
Read More

Twitter Link Round-Up

Here's a recap of the links that I've posted on Twitter over the past week or so: 1.  A friend told me that she used this Divisibility Rocks game from over at The Utah Education Network with her Developmental Math students and that it worked really well.  It turns out that they have plenty of other great lesson plans as well. 2.  Z-Type is a very intense typing game.  It turns out that as a Math Instructor, I do have to teach typing, computer, and writing skills as well.  For example:  One student told me just today that he couldn't write a paper for my class about an African American Mathematician because he hadn't had an English class yet. 3.  NightMare is an example of a 25-word story.  I'm considering having my students write their own 25 word stories about a concept in mathematics.  This would be good introductory video to show to students, though, because it is absolutely hilarious!...
Read More

Math Vocabulary Becomes Art

I was researching the best way to use maps to introduce the topic of ordered pairs to a beginning algebra class, when I stumbled upon something totally different, and totally unique:  A website called Wordle that takes text and turns it into JAVA created art.  I actually threw the RSS feed for this website into their art generator (a wonderful option, by the way), and the results are below.  Immediately, my wheels started spinning about how to use this in a math class, and viola!  The nice people who write the Ed Tech 4 Math Blog Technology & Software For Teaching Math already have a nice post on how Math Vocabulary Becomes Art.  As you can see from my attachments, Wordle can also provide word counts, which could lead to a lot of discussion about word frequencies, etc.  Enjoy!  This also means that a future post is still coming about using mapping in the classroom. Wordle word counts.pdf Download this file ...
Read More