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Computer Math Experiments
Posted:
Jan 30, 2008 7:38 PM


Greetings math teachers 
I haven't posted in awhile, but not for lack of involvement in math teaching initiatives. I've continued in my role of ambassador from the Silicon Forest, presenting to teacher candidates our vision of an ideal curriculum. Of course our vision gets mixed with others, watered down, but that still doesn't get us off the hook of needing to be socially responsible and, more selfishly, working to supply ourselves some future coworkers and team mates (recruiting a next generation of Silicon Forester   explains 'recruiter' in my blog profile).
There's a lot of overlap with what's gone before, with big emphasis on Fibonacci, not just for those numbers and their phi relationship (cite NCLB poly nomial), but for the benefit of our historical narrative (surprise: a time dimension in math class) all about the "zero" ands its east to west migration, resulting in Europe's colonial period (thanks to vastly improved navigation skills, but also accounting skills i.e. money management (building a navy is expensive)). Thanks to pioneering in Baghdad, the abacus and corresponding "sand figures" (or paper arithmetic), we learned to do double entry bookkeeping (everything must balance at the end of the day).
Not just Fibonacci though: Pascal very important, and his triangle (yes, there were Chinese counterparts). We write the Fibonacci sequence, Pascal's triangle, and the sphere packing formula 10*n**2 + 2 (see Sloane's OEIS) as Python generators, although the current version of Pippy on the XOs (OLPC, another NCLB type intiative, MITbacked, along with OpenCourseWare) may not yet do it that way.
Speaking of Europe, I was interviewed by video link from Germany today, from Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster, Institut für Didaktik der Mathematik und der Informatik (reads pretty easily don't it?). Portland's reputation as "open source capital" (per Christian Science Monitor) is continuing to spread. Makes sense that we'd be mixing our tools of the trade with our math teaching more successfully. Leaving Boston in the dust?
And remember gnu math teachers: "unit sphere" not "unit circle." Slap your own wrist if you forgot (smile).
Kirby Urner 4D Solutions Portland, Oregon



