Vihart blows our minds again.

If you’ve never seen a Vihart video, you’re truly missing out. She has a way of tackling these interesting math concepts in a way that is completely entertaining and compelling. Well here she does it again while explaining a math concept that I had never heard of, which is that .999.. (repeating) has the same […]

If you’ve never seen a Vihart video, you’re truly missing out. She has a way of tackling these interesting math concepts in a way that is completely entertaining and compelling. Well here she does it again while explaining a math concept that I had never heard of, which is that .999.. (repeating) has the same value as 1. If I had just heard someone say this without seeing this video I would have a hard time believing them, but just a minute in to the video you will be a believer as well. Check it out.

Vihart blows our minds again.

The FANTASTIC

Wonder

Photo by Roy Sinai

I’ve played this card before and do so often in my talks. It’s a way of establishing some credibility from a not so surprise corner — my age. I’ve long believed that part of my appeal as a speaker is that I’m this sixty-year old guy saying these radical things, instead of a thirty-something, representing a new and strange generation. It goes something like this.

“When I entered the classroom, as a history teacher, the personal computer had not been invented. Calculators cost $200 and they were advertised as ‘A Gift for a Lifetime.'”

But if it had been suggested to me back then, that within a few short years I would be working with desktop computers, and within as many short decades I’d be typing this on a black slab of metal and glass, on a keyboard that magically appears and responds to my touch — well, it would have seemed FANTASTIC!

Oh readers of mine, there seems little reason to believe that this rate of rapid change will end any time soon. Technological advancement will continue — and more importantly will be the increased opportunities for new ways to work, play, live and love — and perhaps even new reasons to recognize the humanity in all of us.

A few days ago I wrote a blog article about what I was taught in school that I’ve never needed to know. My intent was to suggest that there is much that we require our children to learn today that they will never need to know.  This challenges us as we try to authoritatively answer their perennial question, “Why do I need to learn this?”

Among the answers I received were, “So you can read a newspaper or instructions at work, write letters to the editor, to friends and family, and make change.” I learned so that I could work and participate in a mid-twentieth century democratic community.

What if my teacher had said, “Because one day, you will be writing books.” “One day you will be programming computers!” “One day, for just about everything you do, you will need to learn something new.” It would have seemed FANTASTIC!

..and this is the critical element that our institutions of education have missed or ignored –– that we are preparing our children for the FANTASTIC!

It’s another theme that runs through much of my writing and speaking, that, “We are, for the first time in history, preparing our children for a future that we cannot clearly describe.” The conclusion that I usually draw is that, “The best thing we can be teaching our children, is how to teach themselves.”

What do we teach them to be prepared for the FANTASTIC?

“We need teach them WONDER!”

It’s why so many of my generation have so much difficulty with all this change. We don’t have WONDER. ..and without WONDER, we fall back on fear and betrayal.

Yet, our schools are required to teach, under the pressures of short-sighted, government-mandated, high stakes tests, that our children’s world is a known place, with few surprises, and fewer unamswered questions. Their school is a place where we provide answers and our children’s questions and curiosity are mostly ignored — at best.

You can’t test WONDER.

My solution?

Flip the classroom.

But I’m not talking about just flipping when you teach and when you re-enforce. Its more fundamental than that. Ive often questioned the sense of making students learn the math and then giving them the word problems. We should, in almost all disciplines, start with the word problems, and then help our learners develop the skills and habits required to fulfill their wonder. Help them invent the math that solves the problem, invent the grammar that conveys the emotion, explore the geography and history that explains why, discover the science that fulfills the WONDER.

You can’t test that.

But I think you’ll have graduates who are ready to own their future.

Drake Equation: How Many Alien Civilizations Exist?

This is a rather intense infographic, but it would be a good way to start a discussion on the topic of life on other planets. With the landing of Curiosity on Mars and it’s success thus far, I think it’s an interesting topic to discuss. This infographic uses an advanced math problem to decide the […]

This is a rather intense infographic, but it would be a good way to start a discussion on the topic of life on other planets. With the landing of Curiosity on Mars and it’s success thus far, I think it’s an interesting topic to discuss.

This infographic uses an advanced math problem to decide the chances of, and how many alien civilizations exist. But of course, this can only be proved by further exploration. It will be interesting what will be discovered on Mars, to see if life has existed on Mars, and the conditions that may allow for human colonizations.

Use this infographic to introduce Curiosity and the Mars exploration. What has been discovered? What does Mars look like? Based on discoveries, do your students believe we are alone?

Blog: http://goo.gl/KQOZE

Don’t Forget Ed

I just facebook’ed a link to dontforgeted.org – but 140 characters were not enough to add my 2¢ worth.  

I think that education should be among our candidates top priorities. But our problem is not education nearly as much as it is educating so many children who live in poverty.

When you compare the scores of American children from higher socio-economic backgrounds with nations that do not suffer the levels of poverty that are tolerated in the U.S., then we actually do quite well! For instance, schools in the U.S. with fewer than 10% of their students living in or near poverty scored 551 on the PISA math test, second only to Shanghai, China.

So, at the same time that I think public education in the U.S. should be a top priority, the problems of education won’t be solved by government mandates or privatization.

The welfare of all the “people” in the United States is the top concern.

That said, here’s the link – http://dontforgeted.org