## Posts tagged ‘Discovery’

### What I’ve Been Up To

To all of my friends who haven’t heard from me for nearly two years: I apologize. Sorry. I owe you a beer.

But I have a good excuse. I’ve been very busy trying to do something revolutionary.

In fact, I have a sign on my office window that explains what we’re trying to do.

We’re developing an incredible curriculum.

And I work with the most incredible math team ever assembled.

**Marjan Hong**, who knows more about Common Core and effective teaching than anyone I’ve ever met.**Peg Hartwig**, who never met a piece of technology she didn’t love, and who just may be the greatest Algebra II teacher in the history of ever.**Shelley Rosen**, who’s a master of math representations, as evidenced by the Tallies, Ten Frames, and Baseball Games resource that she created for Illuminations.**Brenan Bardige**, who keeps it real by developing astounding, authentic, real-world problems for kids to solve (and he should know; his graduate research looked at assessment problems that kids would solve with a method other than the one the problem was trying to assess).**Sia Robinson**, who understands how kids learn math, and who reminds me daily how important it is for kids to learn math effectively.

I’d love to tell you all about Math Techbook… about all the amazing math tools we’ve built into the web-based curriculum… about the 200+ interactives we’ve woven through six courses… about the teacher dashboard and the inquiry-based approach we’re using and all the other good stuff… but there’s just no time! Tomorrow, we’re having a big release party. Really big. I mean, MASSIVE. But good news! **You’re invited!** Lots of cool people will be there, like **Danica McKellar**, who played Winnie Cooper on *The Wonder Years* but then got a Ph.D. in math from UCLA; **Skip Fennell**, past president of NCTM; **Portia Wu**, assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor; **Mark Edwards**, superintendent in Mooresville, NC; and, **Michele Weslander-Quaid**, innovation evangelist at Google (and a very powerful woman).

As well as hundreds of our closest friends from districts all over the country. And thousands more will be joining us on the web.

I hope you can join our live-streamed launch event, too.

**Register Here – Math Techbook Launch Event**

If you can’t make the launch event, I hope you’ll still check out what we’ve been up to.

**Learn More About Math Techbook**

And if you’re one of the people to whom I owe a beer, gimme a call on January 9.

### Math Problem with 6’s from Scam School

TestTube^{TM} is a new digital network from Discovery^{TM}. With shows like *Stuff of Genius*, *Blow It Up!*, and *Distort* (where “great ideas become reality”), it holds strong appeal for mathy folks.

My favorite show on TestTube^{TM} is Scam School, where magician Brian Blushwood takes you on a tour of bar tricks, street cons, and scams. In the episode “Six the Hard Way,” he poses a mathematical challenge that is a variation on one you may have seen before. As Brian explains, “it’s almost poetic how simple this is.”

The puzzle is this: Form an expression with three 1’s, three 2’s, three 3’s, and so on, up to three 9’s, so that the value of each expression is equal to 6. As an example, an expression using three 7’s is shown below. Can you find expressions using the other numbers?

0 0 0 = 6

1 1 1 = 6

2 2 2 = 6

3 3 3 = 6

4 4 4 = 6

5 5 5 = 6

6 6 6 = 6

7 – 7 ÷ 7 = 6

8 8 8 = 6

9 9 9 = 6

You can watch Six the Hard Way, but be forewarned: at least one solution for each number is given, so you may want to solve the puzzle before viewing.

Also note that some folks have posted solutions in the comments below, so scroll at your own risk.

### Turn the Page

After eight fantastic years as the Online Projects Manager at NCTM, it’s time for my next chapter. On Monday, I become the Director of Mathematics for Discovery Education, leading a team that will build digital math techbooks for K‑12. I’m looking forward to building something great. As I mentioned during my interview, “I’m not coming to Discovery to create a textbook; I’m coming to create a *movement*.”

Leaving is such sweet sorrow. I’ll miss my friends and colleagues at NCTM, and I’m sad that I’ll no longer be creating resources for Illuminations. On the upside, my departure brought three stories worth sharing.

**A Day Off**

My last day at NCTM was February 28. That evening, I mentioned to my sons that I would not be going to work the next day. “Do you know why not?” I asked them. Alex suggested, “Because it’s Dr. Seuss’s birthday?” I love that! Celebrating the birth of Theodore Seuss Geisel certainly seems like a great reason for a federal holiday, but the truth is that I was just taking some time off between jobs.

**Lesson Learned**

The east coast was hit with a snowstorm during my time off, and both the NCTM and Discovery offices were closed. Had I been employed by either organization, I would have spent a day at home with pay. Instead, I spent an upaid eight hours designing the Vennebush Family Flag and playing Uno, Swish, and Qwirkle with the boys, while my gainfully employed wife dialed in to back-to-back-to-back conference calls. Moral: Check the forecast before quitting a job prematurely.

**A Parting Gift**

One of my colleagues at NCTM gave me a broken calculator. (And, no, this isn’t just a cheesy, elaborate set-up for a silly math problem.) The calculator used to be a normal, fully functioning, scientific calculator, but now it can’t add, subtract, multiply or divide without making an error. The good news is that the error is very predictable. The following video shows the results when using the calculator for four basic arithmetic problems.

The following (incorrect) results are shown in the video:

- 310 + 677 = 982
- 13 × 15 = 190
- 512 ÷ 64 = 3
- 75 – 10 = 60

And after the last problem, continual presses of the equal key should repeatedly subtract 10, but instead it shows consecutive results of 45, 30, 15, and 0.

Can you discern the pattern?