AMATYC 2: …Teaching Backwards…


David Sobecki promises to talk about putting applications first before lecture. I do this idea already sometimes so I am hoping to learn a little about specific applications. If we are just trying to convert folks to the idea of applications before lecture I will be a little disappointed.

Math in … is his theme. He uses a few topics per year. For instance Math in … Criminal Investigation. Theming might work as a way to create stories like the professional development speaker at the HFCC campus suggested a couple years ago.

As an example he gives examples of deductive versus inductive reasoning using his Criminal Investigation theme. Then he makes a metaphor to inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning in math. Just confirming using examples and not proving is the same as circumstantial evidence.

Also, getting bit by a dog twice tells you inductively to avoid a route. A giant hole in the ground deductively tells you to go another way. This ties to the full title of the session. I can probably use these ideas the next time I teach Math for Elementary teachers,

He used his kitchen remodeling in Math In … Home Improvement.

  • How much would I save by using a cheaper counter top?
  • At what angle should I cut the trim on my staircase?

Math in … VEGAS, BABY! is another theme. Sobecki does dice games he’s played. He includes common casino games and discusses expected losses from playing a game 100 times.

Math in … biology is a theme. He does maple helicopter histograms.

He uses Google search correlations. There is a correlation between searching for “MySpace” and low literacy rates in states.

He uses Paypal balances to show why subtracting a negative is the same as adding a positive.

Math in … The Art of Persuasion is a theme for teaching logic. He uses political statements, religious statements and sports.

There were more examples on the same theme.

He did give several good ideas and gave a meta theme of using math from your own life. This was what I expected and I’ll be able to apply it. This was a good session for my own teaching. It is not a systemic change session for the College, but that is not what I expected.

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