## Solving Systems with Bon Jovi

By , December 14, 2010 9:57 pm

Bon Jovi – Livin’ On a Prayer

The following is yet another example (as if you needed any more) of how painful it is to be enrolled in Mr. Hunsberger’s 7th grade Algebra class.

Today’s objective was that students would be able to solve systems of equations by elimination. Rather than boring my non-mathematical readers with the gritty details, suffice it to say, that you are solving for two variables (usually x and y).

Now teaching my students the method of elimination to solve for one variable usually takes quite a bit of time, and there is not a little bit of satisfaction when a correct value is finally identified.

x = -3” they will correctly tell me, with quite some definitiveness. Yet, as their teacher it is my job to remind my students that, although we’ve solved for x, in actuality, we’re half-way there

(…groan…, some of you immediately see where I’m going with this…)

“Whoooooa-oooah!”, I call out. Looks of astonished silence from 26 faces. Again.

Whoooooa-oooah! We’re halfway there!”, pausing to ask them about why we’re only halfway there.

While the correct answer is that we’ve still got to solve for the variable y, I tell them I would also accept as correct, the sung phrase “Whoooooa-oooah! Livin’ on a prayer!” (Interesting enough, they all know this 1986 song. Thank you Guitar Hero).

Ah, the pain of being subjugated to the awful humor of an algebra teacher. Hopefully these kids won’t be scarred for life.

## We can graph that? Really?

By , October 24, 2010 11:13 am

Spoon – My Mathematical Mind

One of the greatest side-effects of the internet revolution of the last decade is that it has democratized and validated strange combinations of characteristics, such as “geekiness” and “humor”, which have now been inexorably linked by some extraordinary websites. Tomorrow, I’ll be using a graph from GraphJam to review an algebraic conversation about independent and dependent variables. Additionally, the webcomic XKCD often provides a fantastic starter to our math department meetings with its darkly cynical take on math, life, and love.

Once again, the internet has utterly transformed our lives into something much, much better.

## Math on The Office

By , September 25, 2010 9:39 am

From Thursday’s season premiere of The Office:

Yep, this is why we teach kids math. So they don’t turn out like Michael.

## One Louder

By , May 14, 2010 4:41 pm

So I’ve become a new fan of the website movieclips.com, which allows users to search for particular movie clips based in a keyword or film title.

The best part?

I can make connections (albeit, tenuously) to real life math applications. For instance, today’s lesson on simplifying radicals can be applied in a formula for finding the velocity of a tsunami given it’s depth.

Oh yes, you guessed it. :) Simply had to connect it to this clip.

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