Sunday, November 28, 2010

When Does -3 -3 +3 = 12,000,000

Boise State's kicker missed a field goal in regulation to win their game against Nevada this weekend. The same kicker then went on to miss another in overtime. That's the -3 -3 part.
Nevada's kicker made his attempt in overtime for the win.

The loss may mean a loss in $12,000,000 for Boise State as they have no hope in playing in the NCAA Championship game now, and will most like play in the Humanitarian Bowl and receive a much smaller pay check.

See, math is COOL and CRUEL!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fractions: How Do I Add Thee, Let Me Count the Ways

When it comes to adding fractions, everyone knows that there is only one good way to do it. Right?
So, if I were to ask you to add something simple like 1/2 + 1/4, you would say that we have to find the LCD and change 1/2 into 2/4, add, and get a sum of 3/4. Right?

Or could I change 1/2 into 50% and 1/4 into 25% and then add and get 75% which is equivalent to 3/4? Possibly?

Or could I say that on a clock, 1/2 is the same as 6/12 and 1/4 is the same as 3/12 and then add and get 9/12 which is the same as 3/4? Any chance?

Admittedly, the problem above is very simple. Also, the problem was designed so that three or more methods could be used easily to solve the problem. Not all problems are so friendly! In fact, much of what we do in class centers on finding methods that work for the numbers presented.

Please think about how 1/2 + 1/7 would be different. Do you know both percents? Do you know what 1/7 of a clock face looks like? I don't!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Really Cool Fraction Model

Please click on this link and tell me what you think about this interactive fraction model. You will have to click on the right hand bottom "length" icon and choose "region" to see the circular model, and the circular model is the best. You also want to choose "Wide Range" on the top tabs to see smaller fractional pieces. Try it. It's cool, even if I am a math geek!
I love to see the regions change size as the denominator is changed. Can you imagine what it would look like if you could show millionths?
I really think that it takes models like these to really "get" fractions. I know that many students would agree that fractions can be frustrating. Perhaps, visual aids like this can help.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Math Jobs Anyone?

In a financial way, what can a knowledge of math bring your way? Below is a listing of "math" careers. Can you think of others?
The following were recently were listed as the five "best" jobs.
They were :

software engineer
computer systems analyst
computer programmer

This list was the result of the comparison of two hundred fifty jobs classified according to :
future outlook
physical demands
job security
work environment

A List of Professions:
The following list briefly describes work associated with some mathematics-related professions :
actuary-- assemble and analyze statistics to calculate probabilities of death, sickness, injury, disability, unemployment, retirement, and property loss; design insurance and pension plans and ensure that they are maintained on a sound financial basis

mathematics teacher-- introduce students to the power and beauty of mathematics in elementary, junior high, or high school mathematics courses

operations research analyst-- assist organizations (manufacturers, airlines, military) in developing the most efficient, cost-effective solutions to organizational operations and problems; this includes strategy, forecasting, resource allocation, facilities layout, inventory control, personnel schedules, and distribution systems

statistician-- collect, analyze, and present numerical data resulting from surveys and experiments

physician-- diagnose patient illnesses, prescribe medication, teach classes, mentor interns, and do clinical research; students with a good mathematics background will find themselves being admitted to the best medical schools and discover that mathematics has prepared them well for the discipline, analysis, and problem- solving required in the field of medicine

research scientist-- model atmospheric conditions to gain insight into the effect of changing emissions from cars, trucks, power plants, and factories; apply these models in the development of alternative fuels

computer scientist-- interface the technology of computers with the underlying mathematical principles of such diverse applications as medical diagnoses, graphics animation, interior design, cryptogrraphy, and parallel computers

inventory strategist-- analyze historical sales data, model forecast uncertainty to design contingency plans, and analyze catalog displays to make them more successful; analyze consumer responses

staff systems air traffic control analyst-- apply probability, statistics, and logistsics to air traffic control operations; use simulated aircraft flight to monitor air traffic control computer systems

cryptologist-- design and analyze schemes used to transmit secret information

attorney-- research, comprehend, and apply local, state, and federal laws; a good background in mathematics will help a student get admitted to law school and assist in the understanding of complicated theoretical legal concepts

economist-- interpret and analyze the interrelationships among factors which drive the economics of a particular organization, industry, or country

mathematics professor-- teach mathematics classes, do theoretical research, and advise undergraduate and graduate students at colleges and universities

environmental mathematician-- work as member of interdisciplinary team of scientists and professionals studying problems at specific Superfund sites; communicate effectively across many academic discilplines and be able to summarize work in writing

robotics engineer-- combine mathematics, engineering, and computer science in the study and design of robots

geophysical mathematician -- develop the mathematical basis for seismic imaging tools used in the exploration and production of oil and gas reservoirs

design -- use computer graphics and mathematical modeling in the design and construction of physical prototypes; integrate geometric design with cost-effective manufacturing of resulting products

ecologist -- study the interrelationships of organisms and their environments and the underlying mathematical dynamics

geodesist -- study applied science involving the precise measurement of the size and shape of the earth and its gravity field

photogrammetrist -- study the applied science of multi-spectral image acquisition from terrestrial, aerial and satellite camera platforms, followed up by the image processing, analysis, storage, display, and distribution in various hard-copy and digital format

civil engineer -- plan, design, and manage the construction of land vehicle, aircraft, water, and energy transport systems; analyze and control systems for land vehicular traffic; analyze and control environmental systems for sewage and water treatment; develop sites for industrial, commercial and residential home use; analyze and control systems for storm water drainage and storage; manage construction of foundations, structures and buildings; analyze construction materials ; and surface soils and subterranean material analysis

geomatics engineer -- once known as "surveying engineer", includes geodetic surveying : takes into account the size and shape of the earth, in order to determine the precise horizontal and vertical positions of geodetic reference monuments----ad goes on for 30 lines and make civil engeneering look down right boring!

I know my favorite,and I get to do it each day!

I also know my least favorite, a cryptologist. I hate Soduko!

What about you?