On Fri, Sep 6, 2013 at 2:48 AM, GS Chandy <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > > visit another company in the old Traction Station. > > > > http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Illinois_Traction_ > > Station_Champaign_Illinois_4162.jpg > > > I've opened the Illinois_Traction_Station .jpg file, but I don't seem to > 'get' it. What am I missing? Needs a few words of explanation, I believe. > Or, I'm lacking in some background knowledge that you are assuming all > readers possess. > > >
It's like a treasure hunt or bread crumb trail. Those who really want to figure out what I'm up to in detail (maybe in ten years, a hundred years) can follow data points and connect the dots, like a game. The company I was visiting has office space in said building. No worries.
I gather "Traction Station" refers to a no-longer extant rail system with a pull chain, i.e. a cable car, and this building housed the machinery for it. Finding references is a bit difficult (University of Illinois has old pictures maybe).
As you may know, the US went through an historical chapter wherein many rail systems were pulled out for the benefit of cars and trucks. Now many cities (including Portland) are putting back those trollies and so forth. It's not either / or.
> > The idea of using "games" to learn mathematics, other > > disciplines, is > > nothing new. Puzzles, brain teasers... Martin > > Gardner territory. > > > Indeed - but I suggest the underlying model is "the idea of using 'games' > to help stimulate interest in math, MAY CONTRIBUTE to the user learn > math...". I've found this to be a most fruitful (and hugely unexplored > link) - I was fully successful in using this link in at least one > instance: I was able to demonstrate to a freshman college student that > math could be most interesting (using some Gardner; various other math > artifacts), which then stimulated him to develop his 'learning strategy' on > his own. Ultimately, what happened was that he simply learned how to use > his own mind (and heart, probably!) to find ways to get over the fear > and/or loathing of math that the educational system had previously > inculcated in him. > > >
In the office I visited, the staff plays a board game called Settlers on lunch break. It's a productive together time and gives the staff something fun to do together. A couple people from neighboring offices even join in. In this case, the "game board" is an HDTV / LCD lying on its back.
One can argue if any math is being learned as we have a strict fence around an elusive "math" that excludes playing chess but allows studying chess... Do games of chance help teach combinatorics? A simple yes / no may not be what's called for. What makes a game "didactic"? That's an interesting questions.
In my evolving curriculum, "math is an outdoor sport" (slogan) and more like scouting in some contexts. Geocaching might be involved (treasure hunting), in connection with geodesy studies, which in turn connect to geometrical studies e.g. 'Divided Spheres' (wherein Synergetics is mentioned). Graph theory on a sphere.