Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Google a Day

I just noticed that Google is posting daily questions to find the answer to using Deja Google. It looks like a great way for students to develop internet research skills and learn new things. Today's questions is quite mathematical, involving unit conversion.

Your name is Galloping Gertie. How many furlongs long are you?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Make Music: Do Math!

ECMMA Southeast Regional Conference
Tennessee Tech University, Cookeville
June 24-25, 2011

Click here to view my presentation (if it doesn't show up above).
All the links to my resources are active, so click around!

Visit the NCTM Ignite Talks to view the video Arjan Khalsa's video, 
"Music and Math: Exploring Fractions in Music."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rolling in 3D

So Adele is one of my new favorite singers. Check out the music video of her song "Rolling in the Deep" and see if you can spot the polyhedra (3D shapes).

Just remember, kids, never play with fire. But you can build your own polyhedron city using these Paper Models. Browse their site and see if you can find the names for all the polyhedra that make up Adele's paper city. Share your discoveries by posting a comment.

On more of a scientific note, I have to say that I also love all the glasses on the floor that show the vibration of the drum beat. I became fascinated with how sound vibrates through liquids one Sunday. The music at my church can get pretty loud, and they let us drink coffee during the service. So I was standing near a speaker and holding my coffee, and I could feel the vibrations of the music in the palm of my hand. Pretty cool. I had been to a Deaf church that had floors that would vibrate with the music, but I never thought that kind of technology could be as accessible as your favorite beverage.

And there is still more math to find in this music video! Can you identify the math concepts hidden in these stills?

 Remember to share your discoveries by posting a comment!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Biased Infographics

Occasionally, Stephen Colbert gets statistical and mathy. Here's a recent example:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
USA Today Infographic Sells Out
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Just because a specific company conducted a poll, does that automatically mean that their results are statistically untrustworthy?

How survey questions be written in a biased way?
Check out this Survey Bias Video from

How can sampling methods (who you are surveying) bias your results?
Learn about sampling methods and survey sampling bias from

Monday, February 28, 2011

Hungry Cows

Here's a riddle that Michelle heard at work and passed along.
"If a cow and a calf eat a pumpkin and a half in a day in a half, how many pumpkins will they eat in a week?"
 There are a few different ways to get the right answer. Share how you figured it out by posting a comment!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mahjong Ratios and Percentages

One thing I hate most about losing a computer game like Solitaire or Mahjong is that I know my stats will take a hit. My computer keeps track of how many games I have played and won, and then it figures out the percentage of games I have won.

The more games I lose, the lower that percentage gets. If I win again later, the percentage will creep up, but after one loss, it will never again be 100%. It could get close though if I play 101 games and lose only one.

Let's say I lost another game of Mahjong...
  1. What would be ratio of games won to games played be then?
  2. What would be my percentage of wins?
  3. When could I possibly have seen that same percentage before?
  4. When may I see it again in the future?
  5. How many games would I have to win to raise my stats above 50%?

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    Snakebite Statistics

    When my freshmen class began discussing and googling poisonous snakes, we came across some interesting statistics at 

    "Tennessee is home to 32 species of snakes, only 4 of which are venomous."

    1.  What is the ratio of venomous snake species in Tennessee to all snake species? 

    2.  How many species in Tennessee are nonvenomous?

    * Research: What are the four venomous snake species? How can you tell if a snake is venomous?

    "Snakebite is extremely rare in the United States. And death from snakebite in the U.S. is even rarer. Of the 50,000 deaths that occur worldwide each year, only about 12-15 of those occur in the U.S. The top five states in which you are most likely to die from snakebite are Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Texas and Alabama. All of these states have species which are more lethal than those found in Tennessee."

    3.  What is the percentage of deaths caused by snakebite that occur in the U.S.?  

    * Research: What kind of venomous snakes live in the top five states where you are most likely to die from snakebite? What is their state's ratio of venomous snakes to all the species? How do they compare to Tennessee?

    More Statistics:

    • 8,000-10,000 snakebites are reported annually in the United States.
    • Only 12-15 deaths occur each year in the United States, putting your chances of survival at roughly 499 out 500.
    • Approximately 3000 of these bites are classed as illegitimate, meaning the victim was handling or molesting the snake when the bite occurred. See Prevention of Snakebite.
    • 85% of bites are below the knee. See Prevention of Snakebite.
    • 50% of bites are 'dry' bites where the snake has not injected any venom. Snakes can control the amount of venom they inject. They need their venom to subdue prey, and they do not prey upon humans. In fact, it is the humans who prey upon the snakes.
    4.  What percentage of people die from snakebites in the U.S?

    5.  What percentage survive?

    6.  How does this compare to the ratio of your changes of survival
    (499 out of 500)?

    7.  What percentage of the snakebites occurred when people were mistreating snakes?

    8.  What are the chances of getting bitten below the knee? Write as a ratio.

    9.  If you get bitten by a venomous snake, what are the chances that the snake did not release its venom?
    Write as a ratio.