Big Math in Central Texas

Several weeks ago, I went to Waco, TX, to deliver the keynote session at the Central Texas Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference. But before we get into that, let’s start off with a little trivia about the Wacky City. Do you know…

What famous soft drink was invented by Dr. Charles Alderton at Waco’s Old Corner Drugstore in 1885?
Dr Pepper. (Note that there is no period after Dr in Dr Pepper. Why not? I have no idea.)

What university is currently located in Waco? BONUS: What university used to be located in Waco?
Baylor University; Texas Christian University.

What “wild and crazy” comedian was born in Waco?
Steve Martin.

After the presentation, I had the pleasure of meeting Ashleyanne Thornhill, who has a Pinterest page with over 300 math jokes. Definitely worth checking out.

My keynote presentation was Exploring Rich Problems with Technology and Online Resources. The following is one of the problems that I shared with the audience.

In the 2 × 3 multiplication table below, the numbers 2, 3, 5, 7, and 11 are used to replace the variables a, b, c, d, and e.

The six products are then found, and the sum of the products is calculated. What is the maximum possible sum of the six products?

The technology we used to explore that problem was Microsoft Excel. (You can see how we did it by visiting Multiplication Table at the MJ4MF website.) Not a new technology, to be sure, but an effective one.

As for new technology, I recommended three math apps that I think are worth knowing about:

The presentation went very well. For my efforts, I was given a Baylor Bears t-shirt, a BU hat, and I was named an “honorary bear.” Yee-haw!

What are some of your favorite technologies — old or new — for investigating mathematics?

I also presented a breakout session titled Punz and Puzzles. For those of you who weren’t able to join us in Waco but who will be attending the NCTM Annual Meeting, April 9‑12 in New Orleans, I’ll be giving a similar presentation titled Punz and Puzzles: Creating Environments Where Laughing and Learning Coexist, on Saturday, April 12, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in Room 214 of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Hope to see you there!

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• 1. xhenderson  |  March 26, 2014 at 12:30 am

I really like the “Well Behave Functions / Poorly Behaved Functions” comic ( http://tr.pinterest.com/pin/271130840041047806/ ), but think that it would be both a better pun and more mathematically accurate if the word “relations” was substituted for “functions”. 😛

• 2. puntomaupunto  |  March 26, 2014 at 4:59 am

When I studied English, I was told that when the abbreviation used the first and the last letter of a word (like Dr for doctor and Mr for mister) the period should not be added. I don’t know if it makes sense.

• 3. venneblock  |  March 28, 2014 at 8:48 pm

I’ve never heard that. Then again, I only ever studied English in rural Pennsylvania with teachers who said, “Yunz shouldn’t end no sentences with premonitions,” so perhaps I wasn’t exposed to all the proper rules.

• 4. Humor at #NCTMNOLA | Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks  |  April 16, 2014 at 10:38 pm

[…] a yellow sheet of paper in red ink. While a queue of people who wanted me to sign their copies of Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks formed behind him, he proceeded to tell me ALL of the jokes that he had written. He shared one joke […]

• 5. Ashleyanne Thornhill  |  April 18, 2014 at 8:16 pm

I just stumbled upon this blog while “googling” myself. Thank you for the shout out!! Loved your keynote and I’m still enjoying your book. Keep doing big things!!

• 6. venneblock  |  April 20, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Ashleyanne… EGOSURFING??? Really? I hope it turned up some great things. Last time I googled myself, it turned up some things about me that even I didn’t know! Ah, the web…

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

MJ4MF (offline version)

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.

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