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The final season of the long running and widely popular sitcom, The Big Bang Theory kicks off in a little over a week on September 24, exactly 11 years after it originally debuted on CBS. This got me thinking about one of the more interesting opportunities I’ve had with this blog, a chance to interview TBBT star Mayim Bialik. At that time, I was still working as a high school math teacher, the blog was a little over a year old, and as happens from time to time, I got an email from Texas Instruments PR team.
As they often do to kick off the school year, Texas Instruments is doing a back-to-school contest with some very cool prizes on the line. From now through Sept 25, they’re giving away TI graphing calculators each week to a couple of lucky winners. Additionally, the grand prize is $500 and trip for two to Dallas to Texas Instruments’ HQ. To enter, visit the contest website where you can enter by taking a quiz about your STEM style quiz.
Texas Instruments just launched a new contest that’s definitely worth taking a look at if you are a middle school or high school teacher. You’ll need to put together a team of 5 students and a teacher sponsor to work together to solve a series of puzzles, riddles and brainteasers that have been posted to the contest website. The contest is a partnership with NASA, and if you attempt the challenge, you’ll quickly find that the puzzles are all space themed.
A few months back I had some time on my hands and did a post on how to graph Mickey Mouse with the TI-Nspire. Today I found myself in the same situation and decided to try my hand with the classic Nintendo character Mario on the Nspire. I imposed the same rules on myself as before, the goal was to plot using only functions/equations/relations available on the Nspire’s graphing menu and restricted domains.
Back when I was a Pre-Calculus teacher, one of the projects I used to assign during our conic sections unit was creating an art project out of equations, using circles, ellipses, lines, etc, and restricting their domains. It’s a fun way to reinforce how the various parameters for these equations influence the shape of their respective graphs. We did this on graphing paper, and told the students they could check a few things with their calculators if they wanted, but in recent years, the TI-Nspire CX (review) operating system has come a long way.
The Galloping Ghost arcade in Brookfield, Illinois Last Friday, a college buddy Jim and I made a pilgrimage to Brookfield to the Galloping Ghost Arcade. This is a little outside the sphere of what I usually write about, as this tech does not relate to mathematics or education, and it’s not even particularly new or “gadgety”, but I had such a great time that I’m going to indulge myself. I’m far from a hardcore gamer, but I’ve always been interested in games.
A packed house prepares for a big day of competition and camaraderie A little over a week ago, the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics held their annual state championship finals on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. For the first time since I left teaching mid-year during the 2014-15 school year, I was able to attend, having missed last year for a family engagement. What a joy to be back on the campus of my alma mater, the place where I first learned that satisfaction could be found in solving challenging mathematical problems, once again watching young people take their first steps into that same world of ideas, competing with their friends, making lifelong memories.
Fresh off her 5th birthday, my oldest daughter has continued to be very interested in books at bedtime. She has also been showing an increasing interest in numbers: counting anything and everything, flash cards, and number apps on her Kindle Fire. Of course, I find this budding interest in math delightful, and while I don’t want to smother it, I have kept my ears pricked for ways to encourage her further.
Every year around this time, I enjoy putting together a series of recommendations of math gifts. As my kids are getting old enough to appreciate some of these gifts, I can now put together this list not only from the perspective of a teacher, but a parent. These math gifts vary in age appropriateness from young children to adults. They fall into the following categories: math games, math books, math novelty gifts, and electronic devices that can be used to encourage math learning.