Monday, July 7, 2008

Tales from the Senior Math AQ, part 2

Today in class my teacher mentioned in passing that one of the only things she remembers from chemistry class is that are 6.02 x 10^23 particles in a mole. She says she only knows this because her chemistry teacher used to sing it to her. I immediately asked her who her chemistry teacher was indeed the one, the only, Mr. Seshadri. She then asked me if he did the hydrogen cannon experiment for us with the lights off and then fell down as if he was dead--yep, he did that. (In her class, she was one of the girls who rushed to the front to see if he was okay, before he said he did that every year because it resulted in him being rescued by beautiful ladies. Yeah, I think he mentioned that to us as well.) She asked me if I knew the "To Be Happy is To Be Stable" song, which included the part starting off "happy happy happy happy..."--yep. I mentioned him singing the periodic table to the tune of the alphabet--yep, he did that for them, too. Ah, Dr. Seshadri, your legacy lives on. In my yearbook, he wrote only "Wah!"...that was all he really needed to say to sum up our time with him :).

Tomorrow my gaming life may be exposed to the rest of the class, since the formative assessment my table group has designed requires the use of 8-sided, 10-sided and 20-sided dice. Apparently no one else in the class is in the habit of having these things on their person (to be fair, I didn't have them on my person, either, though I did have to remove them from my satchel this morning when I changed it from D&D mode to school mode). Oh, the joys of getting adults to spend their paid tuition time rolling dice (it's a formative assessment of the probability unit from the grade 12 data management course, alright?)! I think every math teacher needs a couple sets of various-sided dice, though; the more you can bring gaming elements into the classroom, the better, as far as I'm concerned.

Now I will resume waiting for hubby to return from the procedure he underwent at the hospital today. As Inigo Montoya would say, "I hate waiting."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Tales from the Senior Math AQ, part 1

As part of one of our activities today, each of us had to choose a mathematical concept found in the high school curriculum starting with the same first letter as our first names. Let's see, my name starts with J. Hmm. Not an easy task. I asked if I could be jerk (which is the derivative of acceleration, for you non-physics people)...that didn't fly because it isn't even in the high school physics curriculum, let alone high school math. (I don't think it even came up in the particular university physics courses I took...I think some high school teacher of mine brought it up in passing one day.) My classmate Jason and I were sitting back-to-back at different tables, and we both turned around and looked at each other and realized neither of us had a good idea, and none of our tablemates had any ideas, either (and neither did our teacher!). Eventually I decided we could be the unit vector ĵ (or j-hat, if you can't see that little circumflex). Thankfully, that worked nicely for the exercise we had to do, but for a while there ya kinda had to wish for a name starting with T (tangent trigonometry trapezoid) or something else with a lot of options. Well, at least we got to be unique :). Teachers, if you're going to use a strategy like that, have a backup for those of us who are somewhat, well, alphabetically challenged :). Oh, and you chemistry teachers out there, keep in mind there is no J on the periodic table, either. Boo-hoo :(.

All in all, my AQ course is going well so far, partly because my teacher uses a lot of group work and hands-on activities to teach us rather than lecturing for the whole 5 hours each day. The course runs 8-1:15 each day (with only a 15 minute break--yep, that's right, no lunch, but that gets us out nice and early rather than dragging the day on) and the last day of the course is July 24.