Friday, July 30, 2010

Where in the World is MathNotations?

Have you been wondering about the question in the title or just assuming that I'm on hiatus? 
No videos? 
No provocative comments about standardized curriculum? 
No interviews with the movers and shakers in math education on the national front? 
Most importantly, no anecdotes from my 3-yr old grandson? Is the world coming to an end?

Seriously, I suspect the world is still spinning on its axis, perhaps just a tad more tilted. And my faithful readers/subscribers have far more important concerns in their life than waiting for my next post! On the other hand, some of you know that I've discovered Twitterdom or should I say Tweedledum and Tweedledee!

What exactly have I been doing other than coping with the joys and trials of keeping my wife, 3 teenagers and a 21-year old happy? Not to mention 4 grandchildren and 3 other older children not "officially" living at home...

I.  Twittering a brand-new SAT Twitter Math Problem of the Day virtually EVERY day since May 26th! Answers were provided up until about the middle of June. You can see these problems in the right sidebar (limited view) of this blog or follow me on Twitter here. I've had very interesting reactions from 8th and 9th graders in Indonesia who seem to find these problems intriguing although I really don't have a very good translation of their tweets. I think they keep calling me Papa and some are probably afraid of me!

II. Completing Volume I of SAT Math  Quiz Problems. It's still in draft mode but when completed it will have 150-200 challenging math questions not previously published on my blog. Many of the Twitter Problems will be included, answers will be given for all questions and selected hints/solutions will be provided. The book will be available for download as a pdf with some copyright limitations. I will post more on this here, on Twitter and on my new MathNotations Facebook page (still under construction!).

III. I've been in contact with K.C. Yan from Singapore who has been enlightening me re the model method in Singapore Math. I strongly encourage you to check out his website Singapore Math and follow him on Twitter here.  He is a remarkable individual and possesses a profound understanding of mathematics and pedagogy. He is a math coach, writer and editor. He currently conducts recreational and competition math courses and workshops for schools and enrichment centers, and educates the public against innumeracy and pseudoscience. I strongly encourage you to read his blog and, in particular, his demonstration of several non-algebraic "model" methods for solving the following question:

A farmer has twice as many ducks as chickens. After the farmer has sold 413 ducks and 19 chickens died, he has half as many ducks as chickens. How many ducks does he have now?

Who knows? Perhaps, we will one day collaborate!

IV.  I've been in touch with Professor William Schmidt of TIMSS renown. We were scheduled to have a Skype conversation back in May but our schedules were at cross purposes. I'm hoping to contact him again and reschedule. Some of you know how much respect I have for his knowledge, dedication and tireless efforts to improve the math education of our children.

Talk to you soon!!

"All Truth passes through Three Stages: First, it is Ridiculed... Second, it is Violently Opposed... Third, it is Accepted as being Self-Evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer (1778-1860) You've got to be taught To hate and fear, You've got to be taught From year to year, It's got to be drummed In your dear little ear You've got to be carefully taught. --from South Pacific


Miwa Matsuo said...

Dear Mr. Marain,
Hi, it's your student from Michael Academy, Tiffany! Since I don't have a twitter or facebook (I am internet social networking challenged), I managed to find your blog here, which is good luck for me. I look foward to your next posts, though you'll be on hiatus for a while. Thank you!

Miwa Matsuo said...

Oh, it's Tiffany again. I forgot to mention that I would like to put a link to your blog on my blog. Is that okay with you? Some of my friends might like to prep for the SAT or something along those lines. Thanks.