I stayed home yesterday because of and woke up again today with a sore throat. So, being the fish that I am, I swam around on the internets for a while. I don’t remember how I stumbled on it, but I ended up at Kirby Urner‘s 4d solutions and read through quite a bit of his philosophy on teaching math, geometry in particular, and his belief in the necessity of teaching programming (especially in python) with math. I’m impressed, he’s also a Portland local.
Anyway, I was inspired to brush off the ‘ol skillz and see what I could contribute. I imitated some Mathematica code I found to write the python code below. The loop finds the Golden Ratio (phi)
a = 1
b = 1
for i in range(30):
x = a + b
a = b
b = x
There were a few ideas in Kirby’s material that struck a chord for me.
So if you really want to be an effective teacher, you’ll not get in the way of students surpassing you, and understanding in ways you simply do not. Let them also teach *you*. Make it a two way street, from the get go. [cite]
That’s progress in his view. The brightest light Urner’s work set off for me is the potential value of programming in the classroom. For example, instead of pulling up the calculator I could pull up a python command line to perform basic arithmetic. Using loops, I could show students how a computer can simplify/automate long processes. ALGEBRA!! Watching computers store values in variables, and generally being able to read code that ends up looking algebraic offers nice options to extend students’ thinking. I can picture a lesson in which code similar to that above was written and then Pre-runtime: asking students the basic CS question: what’s gonna happen?
phi.avi – (slightly) better quality