Monday, January 13, 2014

Oh Yeah...

...I was trying to start a blog!

It's amazing how easy it is for time to slip away from you. I'm going to make a renewed effort to better maintain this thing.

What better way to get started than with a truly inspiring post from another blogger I follow? Ben Orlin's Math with Bad Drawings blog is immensely entertaining and enlightening. What a creative guy!

His most recent post, "Undiscovered Math", is ripe with possibilities. I'd love to introduce some students to his writing, and I think this could be the perfect post. How cool would it be to put students into the same situation as his fifth-grade self to "discover" this amazing mathematical pattern, then mimic the process of discovering that what you found is "trivial" in the grander scheme of mathematics? He has some wonderful insight into the notion that just because a discovery is viewed by some as trivial, it doesn't detract from the event's poignancy or impact on a budding explorer.

I've had much the same experience recently as I've begun learning computer programming. Few feelings surpass the pure joy I experience when I run a new program and discover that it worked exactly as it should. Recently, writing Python code to dump user-generated data into a separate, saved file that can be accessed in another sitting elicited all sorts of noises that are typically heard only from giddy schoolgirls. An experienced programmer, however, would scoff and say, "You're just using a built-in method from a module someone else created." Still, the sense of wonder and discovery I feel persists and only really serves as a motivator to get me programming more. Maybe one day *I'll* create a module someone else will use!

I want students to experience this same feeling. What an incredible catalyst to push students to excel and feel invigorated learning something new! How do we manufacture this feeling as often as possible, though? I have ideas that I'm hoping to flesh out over the coming weeks...
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