Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Educational fun with balls

Since I can't be all DOOM all the time, or even all hope about saving ourselves from DOOM, I present these two moments of educational fun with balls.  First, Rutgers University puts on The Tennis Ball Games.

What do you know about the economic principle of diminishing marginal product? Rutgers Professor Rosanne Altshuler gave her students 30 seconds to figure it out on a real-life assembly line complete with tennis balls. Take a look.
Next, Iowa State University shows us Learning the mathematics behind juggling at Iowa State

Math 595: Mathematics of Juggling. It's a new course offered at Iowa State this semester and News Service Videographer Alex Murphy visited the class to see how students are learning the science and mathematics behind juggling.
ISU has a press release as well: Math + juggling = better problem-solving tools for ISU students
Posted Nov 14, 2013 8:00 am
AMES, Iowa – Steve Butler casually tosses a ball from his left hand to his right to demonstrate his point that anyone can juggle. With just one ball it’s easy, until he changes it up and adds a second and a third ball to the mix. Still, the assistant professor of mathematics at Iowa State University says the secret to juggling is simple – it’s all about patterns.

“Anyone can juggle,” Butler said. “There are certain juggling patterns that everyone has mastered, they just don’t realize it. They are so simple that people overlook them as juggling, but they are the basic building blocks to form more interesting patterns.”

Those patterns provide the foundation for Butler’s class this fall about the mathematics of juggling. The two topics have a lot in common because mathematics is the science of studying patterns and juggling is the art of controlling patterns, Butler said. The purpose of the class is to help students understand the different patterns involved in juggling using math.
Two dance interludes on campus they're not, but they look like just as much fun in the service of getting students to learn serious intellectual concepts.  I approve.

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