Khan Academy

If you haven’t heard about Khan Academy, then you probably aren’t in the field of education. There has been tremendous criticism of Khan Academy by educators because it ultimately just lectures to students and many educators – at least the ones I keep up with – prefer having students approach math in a different way. Math is often seen as something that you learn and then practice. With more practice, you’re supposed to – with the traditional thought behind mathematics education – get better at math but I don’t think the point of math is to be able to memorize and practice problems over and over until you’ve mastered the skill. Although this can be one way people learn math, I don’t think they’ll truly understand it this way. Many other teachers really like Khan Academy because it does the lecturing for them. The program does have its benefits as it does allow students to work and learn at their own pace. Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed teachers just have their entire class watch a lesson in lieu of them teaching it, then pass out a worksheet for them to practice this new concept that they have just “learned.” While I may not be its biggest fan, I know Khan Academy does help some students. So for those of you that may get some benefit from it, check it out. Here’s a sample of what the videos are like:

Crazy Paper Things

Apparently there are lots of different “crazy paper things” floating around on YouTube. I have yet to make any so I’m not sure if they actually work or not but they do look awesome!

I’m sure there are more but these will definitely get you started.

When Will I Ever Use This?

It’s the question that makes math teachers cringe: When will I ever use this?

It’s true that many of the exercises that teachers make students go through may never be used outside of math class. What I hope is that students see math as a different way of thinking about problems and how to solve those problems.

“There are people who say, ‘I’ll never need this math. These trig identities from 10th grade, or 11th grade.’ Or maybe you never learned them. Here’s the catch: Whether or not you ever again use the math that you learned in school, the act of having learned the math established a wiring in your brain that didn’t exist before, and it’s the wiring in your brain that makes you the problem solver.”

-Neil deGrasse Tyson

The Scarecrow Needs a… Teacher

The Pythagorean Theorem. It’s very popular among math teachers and students.

The sum of the areas of the two squares on the legs of a right triangle equals the area of the square on the hypotenuse.

Now check out what the Scarecrow has to say in The Wizard of Oz (starts 55 sec in if you want to skip ahead):

He says it quite fast. Did you catch it?

“The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side.”

There are many flaws with his statement so I wonder if the writers did this on purpose or if they just didn’t bother to look it up before shooting this scene.


The title of this illustration from xkcd is both awesome and inappropriate so I leave it to you to find it yourself if you so choose.

There are a few I would change (only slightly) but for the most part I agree with their representation of these fruits’ tastiness and difficultly to eat. I also agree with their method of representation 🙂

I know where Larry David would place apricots on this chart…

Curb Your Enthusiasm – Ep.61: Clip – Larry on… Apricots