Making Curriculum Pop


Math Educators!

Pop Culture and Math? OF COURSE, come on down because the price is right!

Members: 220
Latest Activity: Dec 30, 2019

Hey Math educators! You may think it is hard to integrate Math and Popular culture, but do check our Math pop resources wiki page and the great Math and Science T-Shirt shop at for you to get your Math On!

MC POPPERS that are math artists, writers, webhosters or bloggers...
(Under Construction)
Kelly Clark blogs here and at
Maria Droujkova's brilliant community is not to be missed.
Hooda Math - Mathematics Teaching and Educational Game Creation
dy/dan - MC Popper Dan Meyer's Math Teaching Blog
Tony Phillips Math in the Media from the American Mathematical Society

Comment Wall


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Comment by Robert Zenhausern on August 19, 2010 at 1:33pm
In the 19th century arithmetic was the basis for the rest of mathematics. If you did not know arithmetic you could not do higher math. One of the outcomes of the 20th century was to eliminate that dependence through the use of computers. Why does 21st century Education place such emphasis on the lowest math skill, arithmetic? Is it a leftover 19th century mentality that still holds: you must start with arithmetic before you can move on.

Since arithmetic is both lower math and no longer the basis of higher math, it should have less of a place in our curriculum. Teach computation, but make arithmetic invisible when you teach the rest of math.

If I were to teach lower math, I would stress accurate estimation rather absolute precision. I want accuracy (how close to the correct) to be the criterion. If precision is essential, we would use a computer not trust the mental arithmetic of even our top student.

I would teach the rest of mathematics using a spreadsheet. It is very similar to a piece of paper except the arithmetic is done automatically.

Whether you agree or disagree I will offer any teacher interested a personalized spreadsheet series that will parallel what you are already teaching. If you are interested in exploring this, email me at
Comment by Ryan Goble on August 18, 2010 at 11:29am
LOL - even I got that math humor!
Comment by Robert Zenhausern on August 18, 2010 at 11:28am
The shortest distance between two straight lines is a point.
Comment by Ryan Goble on August 17, 2010 at 4:56pm
"Maths busking: the sum of the artsStreet performers are engaging passers-by with maths puzzles and proving that you can make numbers enchanting."

This video from the Guardian video is not embedable so it seemed like a nice comment wall resource. I caught it on somebody's tweet - I can't remember who...
Comment by Ryan Goble on August 2, 2010 at 6:59pm
Colin - very cool stuff - do consider posting the info up above in the discussion for us as the resources and notes placed here on the comment wall tend to get buried over time. Very cool.

Comment by Colin Graham on August 2, 2010 at 5:54pm
I was a statistician before training as a maths teacher and taught A-level statistics. In my experience, one of the clearest practical descriptions of statistics in the workplace was/is T D V Swinscow's Statistics at Square One, which was originally written for nurses/doctors to explain the significance of various clinic tests etc. It was originally published by the British Medical Journal and is available free online at
Some of the medical terms may be a little tricky but the explanation of the concepts is very well exemplified and easy to conceptualize.

It's also interesting for me to remind people that although Florence Nightingale is usually acclaimed for her nursing, it was actually her data collection techniques and her invention of the polar-area diagram that lead to an improvement of sanitation in military and other hospitals. As 2010 is the centenary of her death, this would be an excellent subject for a general investigation: health, mathematics, statistics, feminism... Check out the Wikipedia as a starting point:
Comment by Robert Zenhausern on July 13, 2010 at 1:41pm
I have created an Excel sheet to demonstrate the SD. It may not be all you need, but it is a start and I can modify it for you. Is there a way to upload an Excel sheet or can you send me your email at
Comment by Ryan Goble on July 12, 2010 at 9:32am
@ Thomas - thanks for the info on M&Media I highlighted it above..
@Robert&Lisbeth - can't wait to hear people's ideas on teaching SD - in the future we should put questions like that up in the discussion forum so I can crowdsource them on Tuesday! The content tends to get buried in the comment wall :(
Comment by Lisbeth Goble on July 12, 2010 at 9:09am
Hi Robert-

This is a class that I teach at DeVry, so it's mostly adult college students who are VERY afraid of math in general and statistics in particular. We work on a pretty practical level, meaning I'm not as concerned that they can compute a SD with paper and pencil, but that they can compute it using Excel (which we do use) and understand what it actually means. It really gets discussed along with other descriptive statistics, in part of one class (so not a whole lot of time), but I know a fair handful that get hung up on this issue (which obviously then sticks around for the whole course)...
Comment by Robert Zenhausern on July 12, 2010 at 9:03am
I taught stat for 35 years and I used many different ways of exploring the SD.
Can you tell me about the class and where the SD fits into it. What do you do now? Do you have access to Excel?

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