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Included this week: This week's Global Math webinar details and some awesome tweeting and blogging. This week's newsletter edited by David Wees.
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Online Professional Development Sessions

Presented by Evan Weinberg (@emwdx)

Figuring out when and how to use computers to iterate, calculate, search, and organize information is called computational thinking. Through programming, spreadsheets, and visual models, students can develop a better understanding of abstract concepts than with pencil and paper alone. Evan will share ways to develop computational thinking skills in students, and in the process, help them develop their skills in the required curriculum.

Register to attend here here.
Last week (Tuesday, January 13th, 9 PM EDT) Norma Gorden of CueThink presented on Making Math Social with CueThink's innovative iPad app.

View the recording here.

Great Blogging Action

This week's blogging is all focused on the intersection of mathematics and art. First Sahar Khatri talks about the relationship between photography and mathematics, next Audrey McLaren shares that fashion has its own mathematical secrets, and finally Jenise Sexton finds a parallel between a song and a blog post.
Math and Photography
 
The increased use of Instagram and iPhoneography may suggest that the key to a great picture is selecting the correct filter, but photographer Bryan Hansel suggests that a part of the magic lies in the mathematics behind photography. It's more than just composing a picture using the golden ratio! He states, "The main way we experience that math is in the fractions and numbers involved in the amount of light let into the camera via shutter speed and aperture and the sensitivity the sensor or film is to light."

When getting my first DSLR I soon realized that light could make or break my picture and aperture (the amount the lens opens to let in light), ISO (the sensitivity of the film/sensor to light) and shutter speed (the duration the shutter remains open to let in light) were the key to controlling the impact light had on my photographs.  Mr. Martin provides details of the math behind camera features in a study guide he created for his middle schoolers for a photography project.  While most of these features may seem irrelevant to mobile app photography enthusiasts, photo apps are introducing manual control, especially with the release of iOS 8 that adds an element of manual control to their native camera app.  This means food pictures are about to go to the next level!  
 
Speaking of taking photographs to the next level, photographer Nikki Graziano graphs photographs by overlaying them with corresponding functions. She says, “I wanted to create something that could communicate how awesome math is, to everyone,”  You may have seen videos and images with the golden ratio, but check out her entire work (Found Functions) to see how awesome math is!

Written by Sahar Khatri (@khatrimath)
The Mathematics of Fashion

When I first saw Jennifer Ouellette’s (@JenLucPiquant) tweet “The Mathematical Secret that Changed the Shape of Fashion”, I thought it would be another article about how a designer somehow used the Golden Ratio. Wrong! It turned out to be one of those articles that had so many interesting ideas and links in it that I ended up drilling way down to learn more.  And then getting my husband to peel a clementine. It turns out that a famous mathematician (Bill Thurston) and an also-famous designer (Issey Miyake’s Dai Fujiwara) shared a vision of space that became the basis for a collection that is truly unique, not only for how the pieces look, but because of how they were actually created. One of the key geometric principles used can be demonstrated by peeling a clementine in a single piece, to produce an S-shaped piece of peel (something I’ve seen my own husband do, with great fanfare, hundreds of times!) What’s fascinating to me is that the collaboration wasn’t just an artist borrowing a fancy formula from a mathematician, with no shared understanding of it, but rather a common understanding of geometric ideas that lead to, according to Fujiwara “…an expression about space.” 

Written by Audrey Mclaren (@a_mcsquared)
Mathematics and Musical Poetry

@LBrookePowers latest post reminds me of the Goldford song Never Settle.  Its lyrics have been paralleled with the essence of her post below.

 
Never Settle Crossroads

I was in my room face down
Feeling so confused by this town
And what was I to do but break down


And you were there you felt it too, it did something new to you
Tie your laces speak the truth, speak the truth, speak the truth

Certain planets when they rise, call attention to disguises
Compliment don’t compromise
Feel it right between your eyes

 


You should never ever settle for
Never run into a burning forest
You should never ever settle for it, oh.

Faced with obstacles and factors outside of her control, coupled with the waning motivation of students and self, a choice had to be made.

The implementation of a Mathalicious lesson proved to be the spark needed for students to regain an excitement for mathematics.

Even still, a crossroad approached. What’s best for students? To superficially cover material to get it all “in” prior to state testing. Or continue on the path of meaningful math lessons which provoke excitement, but may not necessarily hit every standard.

I say, what’s best for students should win out every time. We teach for the long run, not immediate moments which may fade over time. Prior to Common Core, superficial teaching was the norm and if we are truthful, we will see it as an ineffective practice. Meaningful math lessons and tasks do much more for students. They go deeper, create enthusiasm for mathematics, make the math real for students and cover multiple standards within one lesson. Never settle…


Written by Jenise Sexton (@MrsJeniseSexton)

Puzzle for the week:

There are 100 prisoners in solitary cells. There's a central living room with one light bulb; this bulb is initially off. No prisoner can see the light bulb from his or her own cell. Everyday, the warden picks a prisoner equally at random, and that prisoner visits the living room. While there, the prisoner can toggle the bulb if he or she wishes. Also, the prisoner has the option of asserting that all 100 prisoners have been to the living room by now. If this assertion is false, all 100 prisoners are shot. However, if it is indeed true, all prisoners are set free... Thus, the assertion should only be made if the prisoner is 100% certain of its validity. The prisoners are allowed to get together one night in the courtyard, to discuss a plan. What plan should they agree on, so that eventually, someone will make a correct assertion?
 

Puzzle via Cut-the-Knot (spoiler alert)

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