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Math Is Hard

October 31, 2013 Leave a comment

Here is the poem that I will be presenting at the Ignite session for AMATYC 2013  There are 50 slides that go with poem that I will try to upload later.

“Young man, in mathematics, you don’t understand things.
You just get used to them.” – John von Neuman

I am an instructor of mathematics.
I might not be a professor,
but with my might I profess, no more nor lesser
not like a passive polygon plastered across my back
a bumper sticker, allowing us to avoid eye contact
and not like a pierced cardioid tattooed “i less than three
math” out of sight, hidden underneath my sleeve
2MUCHTIMe time on my hands, too much has been achieved
A. Morgan, B. Russell, C. Gauss, D. Hilbert, E. Bell, F. Viete,
G.H. Hardy, I could go on naming them all day,
so mathematics boldly billboards across my chest
ignores sinusoidal fashion trends to project and express
a passion from my heart, a complex domain
a union of two parts, real and imagination, stain
countable Cartesian planes thirsty for a change
in position with respect to time, differentiate.
Sorry, off on a tangent, don’t want to complicate
or what’s that word, “remove one tenth”, decimate
a normal distribution, a significant sample of population 
a standard deviation compressed by public comprehension
formulating sharp spikes out of any given Gaussian curve
to carve scars of G.P.A. and grade by grade serves
an affirmation of confirmation bias by such simple words
because everything you look for and all that you perceive,
has a way of proving what ever you believe.
“I’ve never been good at math”, “Letters are not math.”
“When I was in school, we didn’t do that type of math”,
“In all of my classes I have A’s, except for math.”
“I’ve been here for two years, trying to avoid math.”
These rationals expressions have a greatest common factor
that reduces down to an irrational thought of thereafter
“Math is hard.” Now, repeat with me class, “Math is hard.”
“Yes, math is hard.” now square that class, “Yes, math is hard!
Yes, math is hard! Thank God Almighty math is hard.” 
Finding the expected value of math in any human’s life
the cost will always out weight, giving a negative fair price.
I mean, how is negative a squared is not the opposite of a squared
A false hypothesis for any conditional will be true. Who cares?
I care, but please listen, not because I’m a mathematician
I do not stand here on a soap box, a rectangular prism
My roots are at zero, neutral, with a compassionate grin 
a parabola whose vertex is my chin, an understanding that begins
by knowing that math, a proper subset of life, battles with in 
dancing to a divergent harmonic series, never to end.
Yes, math is hard. And so is life. “You just get used to them”. That’s the truth
no sugar coating, just 99.9 repeating percent absolute proof
But really, a victorious excuse “Math is hard!”. Where’s the logic?
Oh, here it is 2B V ~(2B), inclusive, exclusive how will you choose it?
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What can I do for AMATYC?

December 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Below is a reflection on my recent attendance of the 2012 AMATYC Conference, which I submitted to the NCMATYC fall newsletter.

When someone asks me, “Did you have a good conference?”, I often reply, “How could I not?”, and then continue to share all the wonderful events at the conference.  To quickly sum up my AMATYC 2012 experience I got my math on, gave an Ignite talk (https://sites.google.com/site/2point718271827459045/) , got my math on some more, celebrated in the evenings, got my math on, and did my delegate duties.  Feel free to look up my tweets from the conference for some extra inside scoop, #AMATYC12.  Filling in all of the details would take too long, so I will only offer one short experience.

I attended three days straight of amazing session! In each one of those sessions, people would ask thoughtful follow up questions and offer excellent feedback.  For example, I was in a talk that gave some ideas to spice up a trig course.  The person that I was sitting next to mentioned to the presenter, “Just skip the ambiguous case stuff.  Use the Law of Cosines for Angle Side Side and then apply the quadratic formula.”  The presenter paused for a moment and replied exactly with what I was thinking, “I have never thought about it like that.”  That 15 second comment was the golden nugget that I carried away from that session, inspiring me to create this graph of Angle Side Side, which can be seen here https://www.desmos.com/calculator/xubckxlnba, and write a blog entry about it http://t.co/aNGEHAoH.

What happened in that session was not an isolated event, and, as with every other conference I have attended, I have been overwhelmed with great ideas.  Yet, trying to fit in all of those ideas into my currently overwhelmed scheduled just makes me feel more overwhelmed.  Plus, my frugal instinct tells me not to let go of anything because I might find a time to use it. Yeah, right!  That strategy has resulted in stacks of materials gathering dust on my shelf.  Maybe there needs to be a session called “What to do with all that professional development you just had.”  Am I the only one who walks away from an outstanding conference and only applies a small portion of it?

Perhaps there is a difference between an educator who attends conference and one who efficiently applies the conference.  This reminds me of another AMATYC session I attended where the speaker had their students discuss the characteristics between an A student and a C student.  The data in their survey showed that one perception of students is that doing homework is the main characteristic of an A student.  As an educator, I know that being an A student is much more than just attending class and practicing a few exercises.  But let’s make a switch and apply it towards professional development, like an AMATYC conference.   What are the different characteristics of an A teacher versus a C teacher?  Does a C teacher do professional development differently than an A teacher?

My first intention was not to give a talk at AMATYC or to be a NC delegate.   After fulfilling those duties, I am thankful that I had a nudge from our current NCMATYC president to participate in those events.  Being active at the conference helped challenge me professionally.  Plus, just being around other people who are active in AMATYC is inspiring!  Chat with them for a bit and you can see that they have many characteristics of an A teacher.   I hope to carry this motivation forward with AMATYC and NCMATYC.  Not only do I want to attend, I want to be involved.  Not only do I want to participate at the conference, I want contribute throughout the year.  Before going to Jacksonville, my perspective on joining AMATYC was “What could they do for me?”.  I now wonder if this is a characteristic of a C teacher.  I imagine that an A teacher would step up to the challenge and say, “What can I do for AMATYC?”

Categories: blah-blah, presentations Tags: ,

My NCCTM talk.

October 25, 2012 3 comments

Click here to see a link to the Prezi of my NCCTM talk.  In this talk, I begin talking about the different ways to factor polynomials.  I tell the story of the Lizzy Method.  This method is named after a girl, who was 16, discovered a new way of factoring.  However, factoring seems to be a separate topic with little connection.  ParabolaX, a free App in iTunes, can help bring a connection to linear factors and quadratics.  After playing this game, one may see that linear  polynomials could be the base of teaching quadratics and other higher order polynomials.  Currently, students see a sections of adding, subtracting, and multiplying polynomials.  However, the polynomials included are quadratics, cubics, and higher degrees and students don’t even know what those graphs look like or how those polynomials are formed.  This means, possibly, students are getting exposed to math information with little connection.   Another way would be to move from linear, to quadratic, to cubic and so forth and each section you would go through the basic operations of adding, subtracting, and multiplication.  Also, in each section we would see the connection back to linear factors.

Categories: presentations

SOCAMATYC 2012

April 20, 2012 1 comment

Here is a link to the presentation I gave at the 2012 SOCA-MATYC conference.  Click here to see the presentation.  The research articles I referenced in the talk can be found by clicking here and here.  The rest of the links are in the presentation.  Please let me know if you have any questions or comments by posting them here on the blog.    Thanks.

Categories: presentations