How many dump trucks would it take to haul away the volume of Mt. Everest?
One trillion seconds is about how many years?
Would an adult small intestine stretch out to the height of a giraffe? a human? an elephant? the Empire State Building?
These and dozens more questions -- with simple, evocative illustrations and multiple-choice responses -- enliven a new site that Fawn Nguyen launched last month.
The middle school math teacher first appeared here five years ago, when her Visual Patterns website went online; her blogging subsequently inaugurated the "Teachers's Corner" column of our PoWerful Ideas newsletter:
For this newest project of hers, Nguyen drew inspiration from John Allen Paulos's book "Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences." She explains that ratios and proportional reasoning make up much of her curriculum in southern California so, "I'm always comparing stuff." Her new site's "about" page shows her personal interest in scale with a photograph of a flip-flop that she tossed onto an outdoor sculpture of a gigantic Danish clog in Solvang, California. This prompted her to wonder about the height of a person who could wear such oversized shoes.
Jules Bonin-Ducharme has translated Nguyen's thirty entries into French, available by hovering over the numbered section links at the top of "Between 2 Numbers."
The Speak Up annual survey gives individuals the opportunity to share their viewpoints about key educational issues -- and to influence local, state, and federal policies and programs.
Speak Up 2017 began Monday with three themes -- one titled "Why Math Matters." Twenty-question surveys for students present them with such prompts as these:
- What would help you become a better math student? - What stops you from using technology at school? - Imagine you are building a new school. Which of these items would you have in that school to help students learn? - Tell us about your favorite online activity that helps you with learning. . . .
The surveys for adults ask, among other questions, the following:
- What do you think is the best way for today's youth to acquire math skills? - How do you use technology to facilitate learning for your students? - Which instructional resources and strategies are most effective for helping students develop proficiency in math?
Speak Up began in 2003 under the name NetDay and then merged with Project Tomorrow. Last year, more than half a million students, parents, educators, and community members from over 6,000 schools nationwide participated. This marks the first year that math has received specific attention as its own theme in the online research survey.
Project Tomorrow's recent reports have included "From Print to Pixel: The Role of Videos, Games, Animations and Simulations within K-12 Education" as well as multiple "Trends in Digital Communications":
Socratic recently released a major update to its app that does "homework in a snap."
Appearing here upon its launch in January, Socratic allows students to take a picture of an algebraic equation -- typed or handwritten. The free mobile software then breaks it down, step by step; uses Explainers -- which elaborate on underlying concepts using simple language and visuals -- to show how each step works; and presents graphs, curated videos, and relevant definitions.
Last Tuesday's release of version v4.0 for iPhone and iPad lets students create study groups, chat with classmates, and send questions to friends -- "like a group chat, but better: see who's online, share class notes, and get your homework done together without even switching apps." Watch it in action: