When I was at the University of Waterloo (shameless plug), one of the mandatory courses for my undergrad degree was CO 350 – Linear Optimization. The description for this course reads:
“A first course in optimization, emphasizing optimization of linear functions subject to linear constraints (linear programming). Problem formulation. Duality theory. The simplex method. Sensitivity analysis.”
As it turns out, this course is the second lowest mark on my transcript (my lowest mark is a conversation for another day). For whatever reason, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the concepts. After hearing all this, you probably wouldn’t expect that this was one of the most enjoyable courses I ever took and the reason is simple… Dr. Steve Furino.
Every Friday, Dr. Furino would take time out of his 50 minute lecture and talk to us about the history of mathematics. I still remember the day he spoke about Archimedes and his part in the war between Syracuse and Rome. The depth of knowledge that he had, and the passion that oozed out of him when he spoke about these historical topics is something that will always stick with me. Our lectures were on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays at 8:30 am. Attendance was decent on Mondays and Wednesdays, but no one missed a Friday! We couldn’t wait to hear what Dr. Furino had in store for us.
About midway through last year, I felt a bit stuck in my daily routines and I wanted to try something new… something fun. I borrowed the idea from Dr. Furino and started “Math is Fun Fridays”. Every Friday, I would take between 2 and 10 minutes to discuss something that I find fun and/or interesting related to mathematics. The results, so far, have been excellent. Students now walk into the room on a Friday and ask when the “math is fun” activity will be discussed.
Hopefully you’re still with me because this is by far the most important part of this blog post…
I want to create a living document that houses all of these fun activities, so other teachers can use them in their classrooms.
Here’s how I’m going to start this. Here is the link to a google doc, where I have listed many of the activities I have used, or will use. Feel free to use them in your classroom, but what I ask in return is that you also add a fun/cool/interesting activity or idea that interests you. (To do this, please email me at [email protected] so I can give you editing capability for the google doc). My hope is that this becomes like the “take a book, leave a book” stands you see in some neighbourhoods.
“Like a small boat on the ocean, sending big waves into motion. Like how a single word can make a heart open. I might only have one match, but I can make an explosion.” – Rachel Platten
Let’s turn our single match into an explosion!