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New York State Master Teacher Program

NYSMTPI’m happy to announce that I am now officially a member of the New York State Master Teacher Program.

The NYSMTP is designed to connect great math and science teachers from around New York State through networking, professional development, and professional service.  The program is inspired, in part, by the Math for America Master Teacher program in New York City, which I have been actively involved in for the past 9 years.

This past summer I was fortunate to attend a NYSMTP retreat in upstate New York, and I had a fantastic time.  I talked with teachers from all over the state, and learned a great deal about the many different, and similar, things going on across New York.  I also ran a workshop on using Twitter for professional development, which I think is a natural medium for connecting teachers in a program like this.

I’m looking forward to working more with great colleagues from across New York State!


Math Photo: Undersea Rose Curve

Undersea Rose Curve

I can’t look at this lovely jellyfish without seeing a four-petal rose curve in the polar plane.

four-petal rose curve

Exponentials and Ebola

My latest piece for the New York Times Learning Network is a lesson on the underlying mathematics of the spread of contagious diseases, like Ebola.ebola map

In this lesson, students use a basic exponential model to explore the fundamental mathematical ideas of transmission and replication.

Mathematically, the spread of disease can be modeled in a manner similar to the spread of a rumor. Although a number of simplifying assumptions must be made, the simple exponential model captures the basic impact of transmission rates on the dispersion of a disease among a population. Students can explore the consequences of transmission rate using multiplication, algebra, graphing utilities and elementary statistics.

After exploring the essential behavior of various simple exponential models, students then compare real-world data to their theoretical models.  Those that are capable can perform regressions on the data to approximate actual transmission rates.  The students’ work and the real-world data establish a context for discussing the strengths and weaknesses of this simple model of disease transmission.

This lesson is part of a series of Ebloa lessons at the NYT Learning Network and is freely available here.

Math Art: Twilight on Mars

I was playing around in Scratch this weekend, experimenting with some numerical methods for approximating integrals, when this lovely image unexpectedly emerged.  I call it Twilight on Mars.

Integration Art

Twilight on Mars

Looks like I’ve got a new math and art project for students, and me, to explore!

Happy Math-O-Ween!

Happy Math-o-Ween