Today’s Dilbert Comic

Dilbert is one of my favorite comic strips. Every so often there is one that mentions math. Here is today’s:

You can find it here.


The Math That Saved Apollo 13

Two hours after a service module’s oxygen tank explosion on Apollo 13, Commander James Lovell did calculations that helped put the ship back on course so that they could return back to Earth. They needed to establish the right course to use the Moon’s gravity to get back home. Check out the article on Gizmodo from November 2011.

Something for the Kids

Here are a few recommended children’s books that have math in them!

Written by Jon Scieszka (who also wrote The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Fairy Tales) and illustrated by Lane Smith.

Here it is on Amazon.

And another:

Written by Danny Schnitzlein and illustrated by Bill Mayer.

Here it is on Amazon and if you’re interested in seeing more of the illustrations check out Behance.

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: