Wild About Math! Making Math fun and accessible


Review: Numbers Juggling – Times Without the Tables

Brian Foley runs a web-site, Math Mojo and a blog, The Math Mojo Chronicles. The web-site aims to make, in Brian's words, "Math meaningful." While I enjoy the site, I struggled to explain what Math Mojo was about until I found this description in the What is Math Mojo page:

Math Mojo is a way of looking at math that fosters a sense for numbers. The more new ways you learn and practice, the more of a feel you will get for manipulating and understanding how numbers work. They will become less of a mystery, and you will feel better about your ability to do math. These methods are based on several different speed-math techniques. They all work at least as well as the methods that you were taught in school. In fact, schools that teach these methods do much better than the national average.


Uncountably many errors in Texas Math books

I'm in the mood for some "light" writing so I thought I'd report this ...

The Bad Astronomy blog posted an article last November about reviewers of Texas Math books finding 109,623 errors among the books they reviewed. Houghton Mifflin, publisher of the books containing the majority of the errors - 86,026 of them, is tasked with correcting the mistakes by spring or paying a $5,000 fine for each one that remains when the books "go live" in classrooms this fall. An article in the Dallas Morning News gives more dirt.

One error noted was the inclusion of answers to problems in some books that should only have appeared in the teacher editions. There were also language translation errors and errors in computation.

How did Houghton Mifflin commit over 86,000 errors in textbooks? How was that possible?

This story reminds me of the joke about health books: "Don't believe everything you read in books about health; you might die of a misprint." I hope Houghton Mifflin isn't writing software to fly airplanes any time soon.

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Quick not-very-Mathy trivia question

Do you know what is interesting about March 9 this year to most US residents?

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Keep those Monday Math Madness answers coming!

Four of you have submitted answers to Monday Math Madness so far but only two of them are correct. Remember, the Blinkdagger guys and I are picking a good random answer, not the first good answer. So, you've all still got a chance to win $10 to Amazon.

Heather, from the 360 blog, gave the problem to one of her classes to solve, and told them how to submit their answers. So, if you've got Math students who have learned some probability then have them try their hand at this problem. It's not super difficult but it's tricky enough that only half the solutions submitted were correct.

You all have until Sunday night to get your submissions in. And, if you don't like this problem or miss the deadline, Blinkdagger will be running the next contest, starting in 12 days.

Happy problem solving!


Monday Math Madness is here!

I was contacted last week by a couple of Matlab geeks, Quan and Daniel, who have started a puzzle cubeblog, Blinkdagger, about co-sponsoring an ongoing Math contest. Now, I was a little confused because I think these guys are engineers, and I didn't know that engineers took Math classes 🙂 (Maybe these guys learned Calculus in the 4th grade.) Anyway, their email got past my spam filter so I figured this relationship was meant to be! So, (drum roll, please), Blinkdagger and Wild About Math! have teamed up to post fun Math puzzles on the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month. There'll be a prize for the best combination of randomly selected right answer plus good explanation of how you got your answer.


One answer to ADD

[ At the surface, the following post has nothing to do with Math, but I bet that many, many people who struggle with Math could benefit from what I'm about to share with you. In fact, I'm bold enough to claim that this post could change Math-related experiences for many of you more than any post I've ever written or could ever write. ]

I've started yet another blog, the Brain Integration Blog. It journals my personal experience with being CURED from a lifetime of ADD. Before Brain Integration I couldn't sit still for very long, I'd shy away from detail-oriented tasks or tasks that required organization, my focus was poor, I would get easily distracted, and my self-esteemed suffered from all of that. Post-ADD, I'm calm, centered, can sit at the computer for hours at a time if I need to get something done, I don't get distracted when I need to focus, I'm organized, and I'm willing to do detail-oriented tasks.