7 November, 2014
Volume 19 No. 45
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In This Issue

2015 Mathematics Game

Exponentials and Ebola

Integer Milestones: Videos


Online PD

Orientation Sessions

Problem Based Learning Courses

Graduate Credit:
Mathematics Teaching and Learning Certificate

Master's Degree


2015 Mathematics Game


Get a jump start on our annual arithmetic challenge!

Gearing up for a nineteenth year, the Math Forum's Year Game puzzle returns this January. We'll be looking for students to write expressions for each of the counting numbers 1 through 100 using

  • the digits in 2015
  • standard operations
  • grouping symbols

Come preview this year's complete rules, worksheet, and manipulatives now. Starting Thursday, 1 January, 2015, students may submit solutions, which we'll start displaying 1 February.

PoW taking place: math problem-solving moment of the week

"This problem caused me to think much harder than I do normally. I tried to challenge myself mentally, and it was a lot to think about. I don't get problems that make me think this hard usually, so I have one thing to say: Thank you!"
- Kira, mentioned in the Pre-Algebra PoW's Latest Solution

Exponentials and Ebola


What mathematical principles describe the spread of disease?

How can we mathematically model an epidemic?

On Wednesday, a New York City public school teacher contributed a math lesson about contagious diseases like Ebola to The New York Times' Learning Network.

To get ready for "Exponential Outbreaks," students warm up by reading the newspaper's page of Ebola facts:


After focusing on quantitative aspects of the outbreak, they use calculators and graphing utilities to explore the consequences and fundamental mathematical ideas of transmission rates and replication. The lesson ends with extensions to other websites, including one that gamifies epidemic prevention; and links to an interactive projection from The New York Times that charts how the speed of response has defined the Ebola crisis:


This lesson plan was written by Patrick Honner, a finalist for the most recent Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Honner last appeared in these pages over the summer, when a July survey from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) motivated him to write about math education's "grand challenges." His NYT Learning Network lesson joins a free series dedicated to Ebola:


Now taking place: math education conversation of the day

"Possibly simpler is to solve the first equation for (z - xy)² and use it to eliminate z - xy terms from the equation for your circle. Now you're on you're own, though. You have to know if it has a solution.... Oh, and beware of spurious solutions introduced by the squaring of both sides prior to the second substitution."
- George, posted to the sci.math discussion

Integer Milestones: Videos


More than a hundred people attended a conference on how the On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences (OEIS) has contributed to the computational sciences, an event featured in these pages two months ago.

Videos of all the lectures went up last week. Freely watch clips from the gathering, held at the Center for Discrete Mathematics & Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS) of Rutgers University, such as

  • "The OEIS: The Major Problems," by Neil Sloane
  • "On Unsettleable Sequences," by John Conway
  • "There be dragons. Thousands!" by Jörg Arndt
  • "40 Years with Sloane's Integer Sequences," by Jeffrey Shallit
  • "Analogies and Sequences: Intertwined Patterns of Integers and Patterns of Thought Processes," by Douglas Hofstadter


This newsletter is provided as a service of The Math Forum, an online educational community for mathematics hosted by Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.

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