Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Stuff We Like

These guys are really amazing.  If you haven't had a chance to see their stuff, you're missing out.

Two roads that too often run askew, math and pop culture, intersect here.  Their data analysis is both clever and accessible.  If you don't find their insights interesting, well, I don't want to find myself talking to you at a cocktail party.

I finally worked their material into a lesson plan.  It came from their latest post.  I posted stuff black people like on the board, and asked my students to guess what it was showing.  I got some interesting guesses. I explained how these guys run a free online dating service so they can research dating trends. I told them this was from an article called "The real stuff white people like"...They chuckled.  I told them they were looking at the things that were most likely to come up in the profiles of black males.  I asked them what they noticed.  Within minutes, we were talking about font size.  They were polishing their estimating and proportional reasoning skills.  I was asking questions like how many times more likely a black male was to list Lupe Fiasco to Busta Rhymes.  We examined the trends in the races represented in my class.  

I asked what this had to do with math.  One of my classes played right into my hands: 'NOTHING!'
I told them I'd prove to them it has everything to do with math.  I gave them an index card, asked them to write a survey question down about interests, hobbies, or something fun. I got a lot of good questions, ones that I wouldn't have thought of on my own.  I turned it into an online survey.  I found out surveymonkey doesn't offer all of the features we'd need, unless I forked over some chedda.  I found a place where I could get all that stuff for free.
They will take the survey.  They will look at their individual class results compared to the results for all my students.  We'll use proportional reasoning.  We'll create a poster.  Hopefully they'll be fresh.  I'll have wall decorations for the year.

No comments: