The final day of the Math Exploration Club began with the explorers reviewing previously learned mathematical topics. These went very quickly since each of the explorers were actively involved in the process.
Next, Maria gave the explorers fictitous data to be stored in a spreadsheet database. The Math Explorers created a bar chart using the data they created from their spreadsheets. This exercise was created to model the performance of two different companies. The explorer's job was to take the data given and to either make the performance of the company look constant or to make the performance of the company look erratic. They did this by changing the scale as well as the minimum and maximum default numbers. Finally, they printed their results in the form of a graph which they compared with the other student's graphs.
In Maria's next demonstration, she placed a point on the board, and then she placed another dot so that it halved the distance. She repeated the process again and again until it became apparent to the students that the dot would never reach the other side. Maria went on to explain that this was Zeno's Paradox, infinitely many numbers, but not equal to infinity.
The next segment that the explorers revisited was math abuse. Maria created a game in which she would hold up a certain number of fingers and one of the explorers could do so in the same manor. They would then multiply the two numbers together; if the product result was even then Maria would win and if the product was odd then the explorer would win. Maria would always hold up an even number of fingers resulting in an even product. She explained that in some games there was no way to win if human error did not occur. One of the examples was tic-tac-toe.
From there Anne took over, teaching "zero sum games". She also discussed whether two different test forms were fair. The students came up with the idea of having the same questions in a different order. Anne explained that they would be making a pseudo-test later in the class. She gave the students information on what makes a good test, and what types of questions should be on the test. She also talked about penalties for guessing on a standardized test. She explained that there were several different tests to this. She also wrote formulas for the number of answers that need to be eliminated to make guessing worth it. With these formulas in mind she inquired "What's wrong with a question with only two answer choices?" The problem is that if you know that one answer is wrong, then the other one must be right. Anne then led an activity in which they used beads and nailboards to make graphs of their own. The graphs compared intelligence and running speed. Thus ended the first session of the Math Exploration Club!
Last Update: June 19, 1998
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