Friday, December 17, 2010

Math Teachers at Play

Welcome to Math Teachers at Play - December, 2010 edition, hosted at my (humble) blog, An "Old Math Dog" Learning New Tricks.  I am rather new at the whole blogging thing, and was even greener when I said I'd do this, so I'm not totally sure what I've gotten myself into.  Things have been rather crazy around here through November and December, so you won't find a ton of posts at the moment, but my hope is to get back up and blogging more regularly in the near future.  Meanwhile, enjoy my MTaP submission!

When I first discovered which edition I was going to host, I was excited because it uses my favorite number (3) and is divisible by it as well.  As I pondered the number, what first came to mind is a popular adult beverage that orginated not far from where I live in Western Pennsylvania.  This number is featured on every bottle of the beverage and it is the number of words in the pledge printed on each bottle.  This number is also the number of vertebrae in the spine if each bone in the coccyx is counted individually.  I also found out that this number is the largest positive integer that cannot be expressed as a sum of different triangular numbers.  As I continued to read about our number, I also found out that it was the sum of the first four (positive) factorials.

So, hopefully by now, you have figured out that our number is...

and if you are more curious about the legend of the 33 mentioned earlier, you can visit their website here.  Please note that I am not endorsing or condoning the consumption of said beverage - it just fits the theme here.

Some fun...
Well, it being December and holiday time, I think we all are in need of some fun.  Well, at least I am.  Patrick Vennebush starts us off with his Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks Final Exam.  He is rather kind and not only provides the exam, but an answer key as well.

Speaking of December and fun - I live in Northeast Ohio where we got some snow this week (in fact, we got a snow day too - school got about a foot of snow, home about 5-6 inches).  It's a bit snowy here to try this outside as Jen did right now, but maybe we can start accumulating the newspaper for a geodesic dome she shares with us. 

For those of us who find fun in proofs, Xamuel shares A Universal Delta for (Almost) Every Epsilon.

Chris McGinn explains how to create Cinnamon Snowflakes in her Mom of Boys blog post. I have a daughter and a son and I think we'll try this one while my children and I are home from school over Christmas Break.  Should be big time fun here!

If you find fun in astounding your friends with what you can do mentally, John Cook shares an article on how to compute the days of the week in your head for the 21st century. 

Kids certainly find water guns to be lots of fun.  Arthur Charpentier shares with us his mathematics in determining when he should optimally shoot a water gun at his son.

I love playing with different kind of puzzles - so I find them fun.  John Golden shares with us his Triangle Puzzle which is a tangram-like puzzle made out of the seven triangle types.

Logic puzzles are among my favorites as well, and Denise presents another post in her series on logic puzzles and games.  Hex-a-Hop is the latest that she and her students have enjoyed.

It's still football season here - bowl season for the college teams (Go Bucks!) and the wind-down of the NFL regular season (there's always next year when you're a Cleveland Browns fan...).  Denise reminds us of the classical math problem in "A Football Puzzle" ("If quarterback Zeno and his offense advanced the ball halfway to the opposing team’s end zone on each play…")

And of course, some math...
Caroline Mukisa shares with us 5 Reasons Why Maths Literacy is Not Okay, beginning with the important section about how innumeracy is not good if you are sale shopping for that great bargain.

Sue van Hattum presents her latest in the Math Alphabet series: "E is for Eigenvectors and Eigenvalues."

Guillermo Bautista discusses how Eratosthenes measured the circumference of the Earth in his Mathematics and Multimedia blog.

A few interesting resources...
I set these aside because I felt that these three posts and/or websites were good sites to look at for math teacher resources.  The first two had some interesting possibilities on their websites, the third I felt the post was a good reference.

Shaun shares from his blog Math Concepts Explained "What are Real Numbers?"  His blog looks like it would be helpful to students who are struggling with math.

Virtual Math Tutor has a bank of solved math problems and shares the solution to the maximum value of a function without using calculus with us.

Florine Church presents 20 Incredible TED Talks for Math Geeks posted at, saying, "These lecturers know how to do just that, making everything from fractals to physics fun, interesting and just plain entertaining to learn to about, whether you're a math geek or a math hater."

Well, that wraps up this 33rd edition of Math Teachers at Play.  Thanks to everyone who submitted!  Submit your blog article to the next edition of Math Teachers at Play using our carnival submission form.  Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.  You can also visit this month's version (the 72nd) of the Carnival of Mathematics at 360.  The next version of MTaP will be at Mathematics and Multimedia on January 21, 2011.