Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jan Nordgreen, Introducing Another Math Enthusiast

I've been enjoying Jan's blog for about a year now. Most of his posts come in pairs, one post with a photo of someone famous along with a good quote of theirs, the other post with a math problem/puzzle, usually embedded in a very silly dialogue. I enjoy his brevity, his sense of humor, and his choice in puzzles.

Just recently, I found out that he's written in much more depth, and has lots of intriguing essays gathered together here. My favorite essay so far includes thoughts on how to talk with your child's math teacher about math:
These are some of the questions I would ask [the teacher]. Is she interested in mathematics? Does she know the subject well? Does she believe the mind is a pot to be filled or a fire to be ignited? Does she like to solve problems? What kind of problems? Does she encourage the students to show perseverance when the riding gets rough, tolerance towards opinions held by others and pride in work well done? Does she teach the students general problem solving skills? Does she teach them guessing, pattern spotting and the difference between a guess and a proof? Why does she like to be around children? Why does she like to teach mathematics?  
 A few of Jan's puzzles will be featured in my soon-to-be-published book, Playing With Math: Stories From Math Circles, Homeschoolers, and the Internet


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